9 places you only see when the reservoirs run dry

Nature is random and willful, it does not have to respect the constructive or urbanistic eagerness of man. Poor planning has also damaged the history of many towns and villages. But the greatest damage has come precisely from human action. This can be seen when, in times of drought, structures emerge from marshes and reservoirs. These constructions leave very curious, sometimes gloomy images, reminiscent of a living past. A lure for photographers, curious and travelers who wish to witness peculiar and unique places.

The tower of the Church of La Muedra


Church tower of La Muedra, one of the submerged villages | Wikimedia

In an already depopulated area of the town of Vinuesa, in Soria, specifically in the reservoir of Cuerda del Pozo, you can see, when drought permits, the tower of the Church of La Muedra. The image is impressive: a mysterious stone watchtower standing in the middle of the waters. The area was inhabited by a village that was completely flooded after the construction of the reservoir over which, sometimes, the bell tower emerges. It is a vestige that can be contemplated in good condition when the heat evaporates the waters. Many tourists take advantage of their passage through the region to see it and immortalize the deserted landscape with their cameras.

The fascinating medieval bridge of Pedrosa del Rey

pedrosa del rey

Old bridge of the disappeared village of Pedrosa del Rey. When the level of the reservoir is very low you can still see it | Shutterstock

This bridge of Roman origin is currently submerged about ten months a year under the Riaño reservoir. But in the dry season, which usually lasts during the summer, this solid passageway is exposed, which in its day was key to communicate many of the nearby villages. You can clearly make out the three spans of the bridge and a classic medieval style in limestone. As a curiosity, some summers there are people who still cross the bridge as if it were not an abandoned monument in danger of collapse. Because of this and because of its value, many voices claim that this heritage treasure should be protected by the authorities.

The ruins of La Isabela, a former spa for kings and aristocrats


Ruins of the Royal Site of La Isabela, in Buendía | Wikimedia

In the mid-twentieth century, the waters of the Buendía reservoir, located between the provinces of Guadalajara and Cuenca, flooded what was once the village of La Isabela. In a secluded place that is hard to reach, there are several buildings that once formed a small village and offer a ghostly picture. But above all, there is an old spa that served as a resting place for kings, nobles, aristocrats and distinguished personalities of past times. It was a village that became famous for being a place of peace and spiritual retreat. The ruins reveal that it was a busy and important area. With the rise of the waters each year it is hidden until the summer season, when it appears again.

Another impressive tower, that of the Church of Mediano in Huesca


The Mediano Tower, in Huesca, submerged in the waters | Pxfuel

In 1969, the residents of the village of Mediano, located in Huesca, were living their last hours in the village. A tremendous flooding of the Cinca River, in addition to the closing of the tunnels related to the reservoir still under construction, caused a spectacular flooding of the village. In fact, it banished forever all the villagers who lived there. Everything was submerged under the waters of the reservoir. But when it dries up, the Mediano tower with its particular bell tower emerges in an astonishing and beautiful way. The landscape of that watchtower surrounded by water and mountains in the background is a beauty worth contemplating.

The treasure of Guadalperal, a millenary dolmen under reservoirs’ waters


Guadalperal in dry season | Rafael Ruiz Fuente (Courtesy of the Town Council of El Gordo and Mancomunidad de Campo Arañuelo)

It is not always possible to see a stone monument that is, according to the experts, more than four millennia old. It is a European prehistoric burial of great archaeological value and it is known as dolmen of Guadalperal. This monument was discovered in 1925 by the German archaeologist and paleontologist Hugo Obermaier Grad and has been subject for many decades to conservation and study. But obviously, the fact of being submerged for so long, especially during the worst of the winter, has taken its toll on the monument, which has recently been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. A little known jewel that should be respected as much as possible.

The tower of San Román de Sau, among the most beautiful reservoirs

Sant Romá de Sau

Tower of Sant Romá de Sau emerging | Shutterstock

One of the most famous sunken villages in Catalonia is undoubtedly that of San Román de Sau, which completely flooded the reservoir in the area. Today, on dry days, the beautiful tower that was part of the village church is uncovered, leaving the tourist a twilight picture of great beauty. Not only can you see, when the heat is hot, the tower. There is also proof of what the place was in the past. Thus, its cemetery, some buildings of furniture, houses, etc., resurface. A full-fledged ghost town in the middle of the Guilleries mountain range.

The cathedral of the Peces, a little piece of the history of Cantabria

cathedral of the Fishes

The so-called cathedral of the Fishes | Shutterstock

In the most Castilian Cantabria it is possible to find the tower of the church of San Roque. It is worth noting that most of the neighbors of the area call this ‘the cathedral of the Fish’, and that the old building overcomes, in times of drought, the waters of the Ebro. Formerly the villages of Villanueva, La Magdalena or Medianedo itself were located there. Everything was submerged by the lack of diligence of the promoters of the creation of the reservoir. Today, when its waters descend, you can walk around the area and imagine what life was like at that time in the remains of these submerged villages, recent history of the Cantabrian region.

The submerged village of the Mansilla reservoir, in La Rioja

Mansilla de la Sierra

Ruins of what is now the ancient Mansilla de la Sierra | Wikipedia

In 1960 Mansilla de la Sierra, a small village in La Rioja, was not what it is today. At that time the town had a large area that was submerged under the waters of the Najerilla river reservoir as a result of the National Hydrological Plan. Today it looks, in times of drought, like the ruins of a ghost town. Some buildings, streets, trees, a bridge and even an old church, the Concepción, can be seen. Not in vain, it once had more than 600 inhabitants, for the barely 60 that are counted today. A curious place that attracts many tourists and historians, who often walk through its extinct streets recalling what were once streets and squares.

Peñarrubia in Malaga, the village condemned by the reservoirs

One of the best known cases in Andalusia, victim of poor planning. This small village disappeared in the 70s of the last century after the building of a large reservoir that joined the Guadalteba with the Guadalhorce. The oldest people of the place tell that the Franco administration gave 15 days to the neighbors of the area to abandon their homes and businesses and leave with everything on their backs. The village had more than 1,800 inhabitants. Today everything lies abandoned and in ruins. In times of drought, its ruined church and the remains of some of its houses and buildings are clearly visible. A most dramatic picture.

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