Old Petrolandia Church – Pernambuco, Brazil - Atlas Obscura

Old Petrolandia Church

Pernambuco, Brazil

The haunting peak of an old church is all that remains of a drowned Brazilian city. 


With just the top of the old church emerging from the reservoir of the state’s largest hydroelectric dam, and the citizens of Petrolandia moved away from the rising waters, what was once known as just Petrolandia is now known definitively as “Old Petrolandia.”

While the newly named old village has no solid plot to call its location it is generally associated with the arched gothic dome of their former church which still pokes its head out above the water level. The church’s brick facade makes it appear to be a factory or something similar, but the archways that stand clear of the water tell the true story of the strangely haunting relic. While Old Petrolandia was still inhabited, the church must have been the centerpiece of the town with its tall arch.

The hydroelectric plant that spurred on the flooding of Old Petrolandia still hums along, using the waters of the man-made reservoir to make power for the new city. However, no matter how hard it may have tried to wipe away the memory of the old city, not even the promise of clean, futuristic energy can totally erase the traces of Old Petrolandia.      

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