When I was at Hacienda Coloma I talked to an older man who was on our tour (through a family member who translated) about what I had done while in Colombia and what I still planned to do. As soon as he was told what I had scheduled the next day his eyes lit up: I was going to the Salt Cathedral.
Colombians are so proud of the Salt Cathedral. My tour guide said it’s one of two in the world (the other is in Poland) and it’s an entire cathedral that’s built into a salt mine. The mine is still active, however the part that has the Salt Cathedral is used only for worship and tourism.
Oh, and it’s used for weddings. So basically I’ve already toured the venue for my wedding if I ever get married and it’s so gorgeous and breathtaking that I really don’t care if the only people who are able to come are my husband, the pastor and me. #sorrynotsorry
It’s located outside of Bogota in Zipaquirá, so Nestor (my city tour guide) took me there and back. I signed up for the morning English-speaking tour and we had such a small group. Party of two! The other woman was traveling while her husband was on a work trip, so we had fun touring the cathedral together. It’s a typical guided tour and once you reach the end, you get to walk back through the cathedral on your own to make your way out. I enjoyed this, because while I took photos on the way through, I took more detailed photos on my way back since I was able to take my time.
I was in awe of this cathedral. I loved how all the typical elements of a cathedral are featured in such an untraditional church setting and the attention-to-detail that went into the cathedral was amazing.
As we entered, we walked through the stations of the cross, which led us to the dome of the cathedral. After visiting the choir loft (that gave us the first view of the nave that you always in photos! 😍) we made our way to the old chapel, that is still used today. In fact, I think our tour guide said it’s part of the cathedral that’s used most often. I loved the little confessionals off to the side–especially when she told us that they’re not actually used because, due to the acoustics, everyone can hear what people say when they’re in them!
This led us to the three naves, connected by little openings that could make you claustrophobic if they were longer. The three naves represent the birth, life and death of Christ. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I absolutely loved the detail that went into these. From the Holy Family in the birth, to the pulsing of the cross to represent the heartbeat in the nave that represents Christ’s life… it was amazing! (I still need to go through some of the video footage that I took in Bogota, but I hope I have a good video of the pulsing cross!)
At the end of the tour is a little touristy area where you can buy salt lamps, salt figurines and mugs. They also had some other exhibits in this area, like a walk-through exhibit about emerald mining (one of Colombia’s big exports) and an installation light show to share the history of Colombia. The light show may have been a temporary exhibit, but it looks like a space that’s always in use.
The other thing you’ll find in this area is the water mirror. I was told that I absolutely had to see the water mirror, although I had no idea of what that might be. It turns out, the water mirror is an expanse of salt water. Our tour guide asked us how deep we thought it was, so we both looked down and made our guesses. I was absolutely shocked when our tour guide told us how deep it actually is and I even put my hand in the water to test. My pictures of the water mirror weren’t the best, but it’s definitely worth a mention! (There’s a chance I might end up back at the Salt Cathedral when I return to Colombia, so I’ll definitely try to be more prepared to take some decent photos. It was so cool to see all of the photographers who were setting up to take photos as we walked around.)
And how could I forget about the coffee? You can get a coffee at 180 meters underground and I highly recommend it. It was delicious and… well, why not? 🙂
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The Salt Cathedral brought my tour of Colombia to an end. I had a few days left in the country, but decided to save those for time with family, which was so worth it! I have a few more Colombia-related posts planned, so keep an eye out for those in the coming weeks!
If you missed any of the Colombia posts or would just like to go back and reread (that’s for you, mom!):
>> First Impressions | Monserrate | Glass Factory | La Candelaria | Bogota Graffiti Tour | Hacienda Coloma