Watery Mexican tart lobs a convent at us

Forty years ago the Malpaso dam was built in the Mexican state of Chiapas to produce hydroelectric power. As is the case with too many of these schemes, it flooded the community Quechula and completely submerged its 16th c. Convent of Santiago.

Now, thanks to a drought that has dramatically lowered the water level, a full 32 feet of the 49-foot tall convent has emerged. What a beautiful 32 feet it is.

16th c. Convent of Santiago emerges from the waters

It’s made from carved bricks, decorated with Maya figures. You can see its famous double choir windows, an unusual feature in a Dominican monastery of that era.

Little more than the facade was left by the mid-1900’s, but a 90-year-old Quechula resident remembers climbing the bell tower as a child and ringing the 7 antique bells, only one of which was saved before the flooding.


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Comment by Sarah
2009-09-03 00:15:55

Too bad the picture and videos aren’t clearer, would love to see some of that detailing.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-09-03 00:24:03

Me too. I looked for some pre-1969 pictures too but couldn’t find any. Sometimes the internets fail us all. :cry:

Comment by Mr Lemming
2009-09-10 17:23:38

When the internet seemingly fails us, it is really we who have failed the internet.

Also, great title again Livius! This is runner-up behind the really old butter!

Comment by livius drusus
2009-09-11 10:46:06

Thank you! That’s some consolation for having failed the internets. :(

(Comments won't nest below this level)
Comment by Giselle
2009-09-03 08:13:20

Love the picture, very interesting blog post. Would love to know more. This drought really points the finger at climate change and how man affects the environment.
In case it is of interest I wanted to let you know that there is no apostrophe before a plural “s” so it should be: “the mid-1900s”.
Thank you very much.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-09-03 09:46:28

:lol: Thank you for the grammatical protip. It always looks strange to me to have the letter up against the numbers, so I add the apostrophe despite its wrongness.

As far as the story goes, I’m hoping to see a few more articles printed in upcoming days with more info. I’ll be sure to update.

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July 2020


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