The Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá, also known as the Catedral de Sal, continues to be one of the most well-liked day trips available near Bogota, Colombia. It is a marvel that was carved out of 250,000 tonnes of salt and is located 190 metres underground. It is well worth a visit.
The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá: A Brief History
Salt was mined in the area around Zipaquira as early as the 5th century BC by pre-Columbian society. Zipaquira has been famous for its salt reserves for a very long time. The Spanish gave the city its name, “City of Whites,” and, ironically, the salt was later used to finance the independence campaigns of Bolivar and Nario. About forty percent of all of Colombia’s salt exports are still comprised of salt from the Zipaquirá region.
The extraction of salt was a laborious process that occasionally presented risks; consequently, miners had for a long time carved a small sanctuary into the ground at the site so that they would have a place to pray for deliverance and protection at the beginning of each working day. The first underground church was hewn out of the rock in 1932, and in the 1950s, construction began on a significantly larger structure. In 1991, due to concerns about people’s safety, the authorities closed the church (it was built inside an active mine after all).
The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá might be different but do you know the forbidden Catacombs?
The current cathedral was inaugurated in 1995; however, because it does not have a bishop, the Catholic church does not formally acknowledge it as a cathedral.
Today’s view of the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
The Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá is located 190 metres below ground; in order to reach it, you will have to walk past 14 chapels that were also constructed entirely of salt and represent the stations of the cross. After that, you will emerge into the enormous nave with its enormous Cardinal Cross. The feat of engineering that was required to tunnel such a large underground cavern is undeniably impressive, and the mystical and eerie way in which the salt glows in the light that was used to illuminate it (although beware some of the gimmicky changing lighting).
In addition to hosting weekly services on Sundays, the cathedral has space for more than 8,000 people within its mine and nave alone.
In order to enter the cathedral, you will be required to participate in a guided tour; however, once you reach the nave, you will be free to explore the cathedral at your own pace. Bring a lot of cash with you if you plan on visiting the cathedral because it is one of the more pricey attractions in Bogota.
The Parque de Sal complex can be found above ground and features a small museum, several food stalls, and a park that visitors can stroll around in. If you want to make a day of it, the town of Zipaquirá itself is not particularly large, but it is charming and easy to get around on foot. It features a number of restaurants and market stalls.
How to Get to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is located about 50 kilometres to the north of Bogota; it can be reached by taking a public bus from the Portal Norte TransMilenio, and the Cathedral complex is only a short walk from the town’s centre. You can get oriented with the help of the Tourist Information centre, which provides maps and can point you in the right direction. When faced with this alternative, many people opt to take an Uber or a taxi.
Please subscribe to our Youtube channel and support us build a community of fun facts.