scorecardA drowned 1,000-year-old church has reemerged from below the waters of a reservoir due to severe drought
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A drowned 1,000-year-old church has reemerged from below the waters of a reservoir due to severe drought

Isobel van Hagen   

A  drowned 1,000-year-old church has reemerged from below the waters of a reservoir due to severe drought
LifeInternational2 min read
  • The ruins of an 11th-century church remerged in Catalonia during Spain's months-long drought.
  • The Romanesque church, consecrated in 1062, was flooded in the 1960s when a dam was built nearby.

The remains of an ancient church have completely resurfaced in Spain despite once being underwater, as the country faces continued extreme droughts.

Water levels in the Catalonia region of the country are so low that the 11th-century Church of Sant Romà in the village of San Roman de Sau, 62 miles north of Barcelona, has reemerged from the shrinking reservoir. Navigation apps inadvertently say people are submerged in water when they are now standing on dry land, according to reporting by Reuters.

As visitors enjoy the unique pleasure of visiting the church for the first time in 50 years, fishermen are busily scooping up tons of fish in the depleted reservoir that would struggle to survive and contaminate what's left of the drinking water, Reuters said.

The Mediterranean country has entered a long-term drought — and high temperatures and low rainfall increasingly lead to the risk of heatwaves and fires, authorities said.

"The first available predictions for the summer of 2023 point to a likely situation of temperatures once again above normal," a spokesperson for the country's weather agency Aemet said on Friday, according to the Associated Press.

The country entered a period of drought at the end of 2022. It has continued into the first three months of this year. Catalonia officials recently asked citizens to decrease their water use.

CBC recently spoke to local residents who said they had never seen the church in its entirety, as it was usually filled with water.

The Romanesque church, consecrated in 1062, was flooded in the 1960s when a dam was built nearby, according to The Guardian, leaving only the tip of the distinctive tower visible.

The weather has been particularly dry along Spain's northeastern Mediterranean coast — including in Catalonia — because the area is a "no man's land" not "affected by the storms coming from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean," Aemet spokesperson Ruben del Campo told Reuters.

"Heat waves in this geographical area of the planet are more frequent and are increasing more frequently than in other regions," he said, referring to the effects of climate change.

Del Campo added that this year's drought is not the most severe Spain has faced but has warmed 1.3 degrees Celsius (34 Fahrenheit) since the 1960s.




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