Praying Underground in Zipaquira’s Salt Cathedral
An underground salt cathedral is not your daily place to say a prayer. But for hundreds of mine workers the cathedral in the salt mines of Zipaquira, Colombia, was for years the one place where they would pray daily for protection before they started the day’s work.
Whereas the mines themselves date back to the Muisca period, the original cathedral, built in an active mine during the fifties, was closed down because of safety and other structural problems in the early nineties. Just a couple of years later a new cathedral was inaugurated though, just some 200 meters below the original cathedral.
The new underground cathedral, being 75 meters long and 18 meters high, has kind of a magical, spooky feeling when you wander through its maze of tunnels. Yet, it is one of most fascinating religious sites I have seen while travelling through South America, besides the one cathedral built by Oscar Niemeyer in Brasilia.
The underground cathedral is easy to visit by bus on a day-trip from Bogota. There is a variety of tours and activities available, so make sure to come prepared and in time if you would like to do all.