08 Dec The Sunken Church of San Miguel
Never heard of this hidden relic? Don’t be surprised. It’s just another one of San Miguel de Allende’s beautiful secrets.
As we enter the dry season, the water in the reservoir (la presa) subsides, leaving thick mud and puddles where the man-made lake used to be. A chapel, once hidden, emerges from the depths, reminding us of the community that once occupied this land. Intentionally flooded to build the presa, the community of San Augustine was evacuated in 1967.
When our friends Bogar and Dulce invited us to go adventuring for the day, we had little more than mudding in mind. We took a kayak, 1 pair of galoshes, 14 beers and 2 dogs along for the ride. Little did we know that Bogar would take us to see the often heard about yet rarely seen sunken church.
We drove the rover toward Guanajuato, turning off at a small community located beside the reservoir. We stopped to have a customary beer with the community members before exploring their land. Not long after, we stumbled upon another abandoned structure full of fading colorful patterns while off-roading.
The surrounding countryside had sprouted grass in what used to be shallows. Once inside, we cruised through the thick mud that lined the bottom of the usually-full presa, going as far out as we could without getting stuck.
Taking each other’s hands we waded out toward the church, their young son Camilo in tow. In the middle of this would-be lake, we stood in awe of the lovely architecture of the decaying chapel, a barren peak rising from the muddy basin.
All our fun left me wondering: what is the history of this mysterious church that ended up under water? Upon Googling it, I learned very little. So, I began to ask locals, but no one seemed to know much either. What is the story of the sunken church of San Augustine?