A dazzling and otherworldly house of worship entombed just 2 hours north of Bogotá, Colombia, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is a breathtaking testament to faith and a modern miracle of architecture.
It’s a massive Roman Catholic church constructed 600 feet underground in the belly of a salt mine. The pious miners spent their spare time constructing a place to worship out of the only materials they had: salt and rock. Today, the Salt Cathedral is a popular place of pilgrimage as well as a tourist destination.
Salt mining is a serious business, and accidents can happen, so it’s speculated that the original miners constructed the sanctuary to invoke the protection of Our Lady of the Rosary of Guasa, the patroness of salt miners. As time went on, the cathedral became far grander.
Salt Masterpieces Around The World
The Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral is far from the only briny treasure in the world. The Wieliczka Salt Mine of Kraków, Poland, contains multiple churches, statues, and even a replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper etched into the salt. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an incredibly popular Polish tourist destination.
Closer to home, the Salt Palace in Grand Saline, Texas, is constructed out of rock salt, and visitors are encouraged to lick the walls.
The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia’s Altiplano is the largest salt flat on the planet. It’s the perfect place to play with perspective and is considered one of the most unique and awe-inspiring naturally occurring wonders of the world.
Visiting The Salt Cathedral Of Zipaquirá
From Colombia’s capital city of Bogotá, you have several different options. There are tour packages available that will get you to Zipaquirá and the park, as well as back to Bogotá. You can also take a train or bus from Bogotá’s Terminal de Norte. If you opt for the local bus, be prepared to walk several blocks to the cathedral itself. Download MAPS.ME to plan out your walking route.
The best time to visit the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is in late spring, when the weather is warmer, but be aware that the temperature inside of the mine can be chilly. It’s best to bring a light jacket or sweater with you.
The cathedral is open daily between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and it might be busier on Sundays and holy days. General admission costs 57,000 Colombian pesos, or just about $17, and you can spend as long as you’d like inside.
The cathedral is massive, so prepare for a lot of walking. Some of the passages are smaller, and many of them head uphill or downhill, so if you’re claustrophobic or have mobility issues, you might want to reconsider visiting some of the chambers.
The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá hasn’t quite hit the mainstream travel radar yet, so now is the best time to visit this iconic underground church of salt.
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