The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is one of the best known tourist destinations in Colombia. To those who have never been there, it will be a site worth coming back to over and over.
Location and How to Get to This Specific Site
The cathedral is near the Zipaquira town about 47 km to the north of Bogota. The church can be found inside the salt mine’s tunnels 200 meters underground. The salt mine is in the Halite Mountain at Cundinamarca.
What to See There
The cathedral has 14 tunnels. There are stations of the cross that symbolize the life of Christ. There are lights in the tunnels that illuminate the way. At certain points, the lights will change color. The complex features an auditorium with a 200 seating capacity. Next to it are naves symbolizing Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection.
Visitors can also watch a 3D video detailing the salt mine’s geological history. The rock climbing wall is another popular feature.
Zipaquira has been mined since the 5th century BC. Current evidence points to the Muisca indigenous people as the first to conduct salt mining. The substance was used as currency. Later on, the Spaniards would build the town and mine the area extensively. The salt was also used by freedom fighters like Narino and Bolivar to fund their causes.
During the 1930s, the miners decided to build a salt cathedral. This cathedral became very popular, but it was shut down in 1955 for safety reasons. In 1995, the present cathedral was built. It was set 250 meters deeper than the original. The work required 250,000 tons of rock to be removed.
The entrance fee is $8.50 (17.000 COP).
The cathedral is just part of the whole complex. The establishment includes a restaurant, a movie theater and other attractions. There are also proposals to build a wellness center and a salt spa. Tourists can avail of a guide. This tour will take about an hour. A half hour tour will also explain the dangers that the miners faced.
Since the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira opened its doors in 1995, it has drawn over 13 million visitors. Today, it also functions as a place of worship every Sunday.