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.
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.