Underground Salt Cathedral?

By Adriana Velasco, Metropolitan Touring Ecuador

No words are enough to describe the beauty of the underground Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. Located just an hour and a half drive from Bogotá and five minutes from the colorful small town of Zipaquira, the underground Cathedral and salt mines await for its visitors. Hundreds of years ago, the salt miners built the Cathedral in devotion of their Catholic Saints, to ask them for protection during their dangerous and exhausting work. Nowadays, visitors explore its passages and tunnels to discover one of Colombia´s wonders.

The main entrance divides the sunlight from the darkness of its secrets and passages. As we went down, the smell of salt fills the tunnels and dense cool air is felt. Our guide explained about each of the fourteen stations that represent Jesus Christ´s viacrusis. Each stop reveals caves with different cross shapes illuminated with dim blue, orange or red lights that represent each station: Jesus condemned to death, Jesus carries his cross, Jesus is crucified, and so on.   

The main chamber of the Cathedral is breathtaking.  Tall ceilings, carved walls, sculptures of Saints and an impressive main altar represented by a 16-meter tall carved cross. Everything made out of salt and tastefully illuminated to enhance its details. As we walked through the main chambers at the end of the descent, I imagined myself hearing a mass at this incredible place while hearing a Gregorian Choir chant…

I couldn´t believe that at that moment, miners were working 200 meters below us, extracting salt.  The mine salts are still active and producing important volume for export. The visit ends in a well equipped audiovisual room where an impressive 3D video with the history of the mines and Cathedral was displayed.

Imposing, mysterious, unique, rich of stories to tell: The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá definitely exceeded my expectations. Definitely a must see in Colombia!

If you want to know more about Colombia, please visit Metropolitan Touring’s website.

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