The saltiest pilgrimage

Wherever you end up overseas it seems almost inevitable there’s going to be a grand church, temple or cathedral somewhere along the tourism trail that is a “must see”. The first time you have this experience, you get an instant appreciation of divine times that have past and then, if you’re anything like us, boredom ensues. The grandeur continues to impress but there’s a certain degree of monotony from site to site. This however, was not the case when we visited Colombia’s Caterdral de Sal de Zipaquira (The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira). Here, to get closer to the higher powers we ventured 200m underground through an old salt mine that was partially converted in to a cathedral in the early 1950’s. It was temporarily closed in the early 1990’s for some pretty spectacular renovations and remains untouched since. Although it is not officially recognised by the Catholic church (it has no Bishop), it still holds a weekly Sunday service that draws a crowd upwards of 3,000.

Just around the corner lies another smaller retired salt mine that has recently been converted to a place of worship also and is now popular for weddings and parties amongst Bogota’s elite. Whilst much, much smaller and less popular amongst the tourists, the tunnels were equally as spectacular.

P9170969Entry leading down towards the main tunnel.

P9170968Al spots the first signs of salt cascading down the tunnel walls.

P9170977Landing and logistics area of main mining tunnel.

IMG_1189We turn the corner and out come the colours. Starting to feel like a cross between a mine, a church and a silent disco.

P9171006The high salt content in the mine’s waterway creates a glassy surface that makes it hard to determine where the walls finish and the water starts.

P9171015Cascada de Sal (Salt waterfall)

P9171020Floating Mary.

P9171029Heart shaped salt sculpture along the way to the main nave in the cathedral.

P9171039Alice feeling the power of the salt.

P9171044Balcony overlooking the main nave.


A space that felt particularly like being on the set of an Indiana Jones film. In fact, the whole place felt like an Indiana Jones movie.

P9171052The main section of the cathedral.

P9171078The side room. Way cooler and better access to the bathroom. Good place to chill when you need a break from the main room.

P9171076Getting lost in the tunnels that keep going in all directions.

P9171079The photo doesn’t accurately represent the size of the space here. This is where the 3,000 strong weekly mass takes place.


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