A 1,000-year-old drowned church has risen from beneath the floodwaters of a reservoir due to severe drought


  • The ruins of an 11th century church resurfaced in Catalonia during Spain’s dry months.
  • The Romanesque church, consecrated in 1062, was flooded in the 1960s when a dam was built nearby.
  • Currently, the Sau reservoir is only 10% full and access to the area is restricted.

The remains of an ancient church have fully resurfaced in Spain despite once being under water, as the country faces ongoing 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 resurfaced from the shrinking reservoir. . Navigation apps inadvertently say that people are submerged in water when they are now standing on dry land, according information from Reuters.

While visitors are enjoying the unique pleasure of visiting the church for the first time in 50 years, fishermen are busy scooping up tons of fish in the depleted reservoir that would struggle to survive and contaminate what remains of drinking water, Reuters said.

A man plays with his dog named 'Nina' as tourists walk on the cracked ground next to the church of San Román de Sau, which was partially submerged and resurfaced as the Sau reservoir has its lowest level since 1990 due to Extreme drought in Catalonia, near Vic, Spain March 15, 2023.

A man plays with his dog named ‘Nina’ as tourists walk on the cracked ground next to the church of San Román de Sau, which was partially submerged and resurfaced as the Sau reservoir has its lowest level since 1990 due to Extreme drought in Catalonia, near Vic, Spain March 15, 2023.

Nacho Doce/Reuters



The Mediterranean country has entered a prolonged drought, with high temperatures and low rainfall increasingly increasing the risk of heat waves and fires, authorities said.

“The first available predictions for the summer of 2023 point to a probable situation of temperatures once again above normal,” a spokesman for the country’s meteorological agency, Aemet, said on Friday. according The Associated Press.

The country entered a dry spell at the end of 2022. It continued through the first three months of this year. Officials in Catalonia recently asked citizens to reduce their water use.

The door of a house is shown in the village of San Román de Sau, which was partially submerged and resurfaced when the Sau reservoir has its lowest level since 1990 due to extreme drought in Catalonia, near Vic, Spain, on 15 March 2023.

The door of a house is shown in the village of San Román de Sau, which was partially submerged and resurfaced when the Sau reservoir has its lowest level since 1990 due to extreme drought in Catalonia, near Vic, Spain, on 15 March 2023.

REUTERS/Nacho Twelve



CBC recently spoke with 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 Catalonia, because the area is a “no man’s land” that is “unaffected by storms coming from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean,” he told Reuters the spokesman for Aemet, Rubén del Campo.

Motorcyclists ride past the town of San Roman de Sau, which was partially submerged and resurfaced as the Sau reservoir has its lowest level since 1990 due to extreme drought in Catalonia, near Vic, Spain, on March 15, 2023.

Motorcyclists ride past the town of San Roman de Sau, which was partially submerged and resurfaced as the Sau reservoir has its lowest level since 1990 due to extreme drought in Catalonia, near Vic, Spain, on March 15, 2023.

REUTERS/Nacho Twelve



“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 it has warmed 1.3 degrees Celsius (34 Fahrenheit) since the 1960s.

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