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Submerged Church - Italy, June 2020

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B W T

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Submerged Church #03


Is this how you imagine what the gate to the netherworld would look like? Well, this is it. For at least 2,500 years, it has been a place of prayer, and you just need to look around to understand why. Spontaneous subsidence of land and other phenomena made this the site of gods. Already worshipped in ancient times, then by Romans, and recently by Catholics, this is one of the most fascinating yet mysterious cult sites in all of Italy. This manmade structure reconquered by nature is submerged today and sinking deeper into the ground year by year.

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Submerged Church #11


This former house of God lies in ruins today. There is no roof anymore, and it has sunken into the ground. Only the monumental limestone façade is still in place. The structure turned into a habitat for new life. The reason why nature is flourishing here is not only the absence of man but also a spring that emerged right under the building centuries ago - and later caused its downfall. Literally.

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Submerged Church #06


This is an area of marshy wetlands. Due to the number of mineral springs and phenomena like spontaneous subsidence of land, people from the ancient world were already coming here to pray. They thought this must be a portal to the netherworld. Later, Romans built a temple where the church is located today. The Lord's house itself was constructed in the 14th century, and quickly became the most important religious institution of the valley. 150 years ago, it needed to be abandoned.

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Submerged Church #08


It appears like this is still a sacred place today. Locals have built a shrine at the exterior wall since praying inside is not possible anymore. In the 19th century, a sinkhole opened up and flooded the church. Imagine that! This probably happened as a consequence of one of the many earthquakes in this region. Since the building was not safe anymore, it needed to be abandoned by the community. It took a whole century of neglect and another devastating earthquake to make the roof fall down in the 1970s.

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Submerged Church #01


There has never been a real intervention to preserve the building. Even though this site has been sacred for thousands of years already and people think the water must have miraculous healing powers the building itself is deserted, and slowly sinking deeper into the ground. Man left but nature arrived. And the site of gods literally became a nether world.

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Submerged Church #18


For us, this was the most magical place we have ever explored. To see more of it watch our video report on YouTube now:


 

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