Almost 650 feet below the ground, worshippers and travelers of Colombia alike can find the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. With an impressive 16-foot tall cross looming over visitors that is lit up in glory, there is more to marvel at than just the sheer depth of this salt cavern. Because of its sheer depth, there is no natural light, meaning that everywhere you go is illuminated by atmospheric lights, from rooms to artwork, sculptures, and even tunnels, there is plenty to amaze you.
Originally constructed as a salt mine back in 1815, by 1876 workers had created a small worshipping space so that they could practice their faith before descending one of the four tunnels that went deeper into the ground. This remained for many years, with workers praying at the altar before descending deeper into the mine for the days work.
Around the beginning of the 1950s, the decision was made to change this small alter into something more magnificent. And so, construction started on a huge underground salt cathedral. It was opened for worship in 1953 and had walkways and a huge basilica dome. Appropriately, this cathedral was dedicated to the patron saint of miners, Saint Barbra.
The salt mine beneath the cathedral functioned throughout the process of the building, which left some potentially very serious structural issues and because of this, the original cathedral was closed in 1990. Just a year later, work began on a new cathedral, which was completed in 1995, and can be found about 200 feet below the original. This construction was a huge feat of structural engineering, even winning competitions. The building of the cathedral meant the movement of roughly 250,000 tons of rock. The cross from the original worshipping space can still be found within the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, despite the fact that the area has expanded from a small platform to a cathedral fit for 8,400 worshippers.
Outside of the mine, the surrounding area can be likened to an enormous salt-themed park, you can find all kinds of activities. Starting with crafts, the climbing wall, onsite museums and movies, find out a few of the best things available below!
The tunnels are open from Monday to Saturday, and visitors are welcomed for the whole day. However, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is still a functioning cathedral, and so on Sundays, it is closed for tours. This is to allow the three thousand worship here to enjoy the holy services in the way that they were intended.
While traveling Colombia, one of the must-see things is the incredible underground Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. While you’re there you can spend a little time learning about the world’s most popular condiment, as well as snapping some truly incredible pictures. This is definitely one of the best day trips from Bogota.