San Romà de Sau

San Romà de Sau

A Romanesque village submerged in 1960s under the Sau dam., Spain
San Romà de Sau is a 1,000-year-old Romanesque village, now submerged under the Sau dam, in the municipality of Vilanova de Sau, Catalonia, Spain.

The flood

In the 1960s, the Catalonian government made the choice to create a reservoir on the site of San Romà de Sau, a village that had been inhabited for a millennium. Forced to leave their town, the people made their best effort to take their valuables, and even exhume their dead before the man-made flood. Leaving the skeleton of their town, they headed inland. As predicted, the creation of the reservoir flooded San Romà de Sau and completely submerged all the buildings.

The remainings
San Romà de Sau church is the lone site that has been visible above the water line for all of the last 55 years since the town was turned into a reservoir. When the water level is high, only the church's spire can be seen. Although very small, the pointed spire of the church can be seen from anywhere in the surrounding hills.

When the water level drops, other pieces of the town briefly re-emerge, including the entire church, the empty cemetery and the foundations of some other buildings, that attract many tourists. Despite being reinforced one time during a dry period, the church is off-limits to visitors, and has a fence surrounding it that sinks when the water level rises up again.

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