Not too long ago I decided to test my fear of enclosed spaced by visiting La Catedral de Sal in Zipaquirá which is a salt mine turned cathedral.
It is about an hour from Bogotá and is 200 metres underground. Just hearing that, as we walked into the cavernous tunnel made me sweat.
The cathedral was carved out of the mountain in the 1930s by the miners working in the area as a sanctuary and a place of prayer. It was then later refurbished and restructured into the Cathedral it is today.
In Colombia, La Catedral de Sal is a place of pilgrimage. The busiest day of the year is Easter but every day, especially Sundays, the cathedral is filled with thousands of visitors from around the country and the world. I headed along on a Sunday and it was busy – go early if you pay a visit!
An illuminated pathway guided the way through the underground holy space and stations of the cross, each designed by different artists, point us in the right direction. I don’t know if it was the darkness, the large amount of people, the memorial for killed miners or the large glowing crosses that did it, but walking through this dimly-lit underground sacred area is pretty unnerving. I just wanted to sit in the pews gazing at the salty ceiling.
And yes, given it is a salt mine everything is pretty much carved out of salt. I may have licked the wall just to make sure.
The town of Zapiquíra is also a gorgeous town the spend the day walking around. Have lunch, eat an ice-cream in the main square and then slowly make your way back to Bogotá when you’re ready.
How do you get there?
Catch a bus from Portal Norte in Bogotá or there is train that runs on the weekends.