Who builds a Church inside a salt mine? Salt Cathedral: Bogota, Colombia

Bogotravel Tours

After researching various tour companies, I chose Bogotravel tours to transport me to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira because they had the cheapest option. It included lunch, ticket entrance and round-trip transportation from Bogota to Zipaquira.

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Prior to the tour, Bogotravel tours requested an address of my pickup location. Unfortunately, due to my Airbnb cancelation, I could not provide an address. I emailed and informed the company of the situation. They replied via email stating that “if I didn’t give them an address by 6 pm they would cancel the tour and no refund would be given”. Eventually, I found lodging but the lack of patience and empathy increased my anxiety about finding a location to stay.

The driver promptly picked me up from my hotel. The driver only spoke Spanish, I was happy to have Diana along for the ride as she was both bilingual and a solo traveler extending her travels to sight see after completing her work duties in Bogota.

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Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira

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Entrance into the Salt Cathedral
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Salt in the tunnels

We were provided with an English guide who led the group tour. A salt deposit was formed over 250 million years ago and halite aka salt rock is what the Salt Cathedral is made from.

The Salt Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church that was built in the tunnels of the salt mines. They have over 2500 visitors and hold regular services on Sundays.

Before the church was built miners used the mines a place to pray and ask for safety before starting there daily task. The construction of the old Salt cathedral began in 1950 and was completed in 1954 and dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary, Patron Saint of miners. Due to the fact that they were building over an active mine, construction was halted. The new cathedral began building in 1991 and was completed in 1995.

 3 main sections

Stations of the cross: Represents Jesus  journey before his death using 14 different crosses.

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The Dome: balcony, cross chambers, narthex labyrinth

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3 Naves: A crack representing the birth and death of Jesus Christ

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The Salt Cathedral tour was emotional for me. It is difficult to imagine Jesus last moments before he died on the cross. As a Christian, Jesus death symbolizes salvation and him dying on the cross for our sins. I felt the presence of Jesus at the Cathedral and was grateful to have experienced this moment.

In addition to the 3 main sections, they have other activities such as a light show, reflecting mirror, souvenir shopping, and emerald tour.

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Light Show

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Letting my mom know that I’m safe
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Emerald
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Emerald

After the tour, we went for lunch. I enjoyed the local soup ajiaco (corn, meat, potatoes), rice and meat. The great thing about solo travel is the opportunity to meet other cool solo travelers that may be interested in doing the same type of activities.

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Ajiaco
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Pork, Beef, Chicken on an open fire

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Museo del Oro aka Gold Museum

Diana and I decided that we wanted to explore Museo del Oro aka Gold Museum after visiting the Salt Cathedral. We paid a small entrance fee of 3000 Pesos. The museum has 3 floors showcasing more than 50,000 pieces of gold and other artifacts. It was great to see the gold museum or pre-Colombian gold. The gold worn by Colombians was used as a form of worship and not profit. Unfortunately, Spaniards became greedy and begin to kill Colombians in order to steal gold and make a profit.

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I was intrigued by the history of gold and what it represented compared to how we value gold in modern times. It also made me realize that history repeats itself. The new generation thinks that they are starting a new trend. If we look back in history we can see that the trends are new to us but not new to the world. For example, I’ve seen in increase in septum piercing, I also saw the same piercing worn by Colombians thousands of years ago.

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I highly recommend the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira. Many people don’t solo traveler because they don’t want to go alone. As you can see, I quickly made a friend and we traveled together to a new activity. If traveling solo, have you ever made friends along the way?

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Rock Carvings

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24 Comments

  1. I’ve never heard of this. Thank you for sharing. I am having my daughter use these salt mines and the church for an upcoming school project.

    • Yes I enjoy group travel but solo travel is wonderful. I encourage everyone to try it at least once. It was a wonderful experience, I highly recommend this excursion while in Bogota

    • Oh no, sorry about your connection. Hope you can come back to look at the pictures, they are really pretty! It was a beautiful place

    • Yes I have never seen anything like it in the states either. I think people are amazing and talented to build such a design like the salt cathedral

  2. WHOA this gorgeous albeit a bit claustrophobic. Thank God you had a solo traveler there that could help with translation, I would be stressed esp because it seems that company wasn’t very flexible seeing that you had something happen out of your control. Why was your airbnb canceled?

    • The previous guest said they were bitten by a flea at the Airbnb. I was super stressed about finding a place and then providing the information to the company but thankful for the Colombian buddy helping out. It does look claustrophobic but this place is huge even with lots of people I didn’t feel enclosed.

  3. What a cool solo travel journey! I enjoy traveling solo and it’s true that you do always meet someone along the way.

    I never knew there was a cathedral in a salt mine. I’ll have to remember this when I go to Colombia! I’m going to pin this.

    • I appreciate you pinning this post. Let me know if you have any other questions before you visit Colombia 🙂

      I love meeting new people, one of my favorite things to do while traveling 🙂

  4. This is such a thorough post. Colombia has been on my mind, and I’ve been seeing some super cheap air fare to go there so I’m highly considering it.
    This would be a great excursion for someone like me who is religious.
    Glad you enjoyed it

    • Yes I have been seeing cheap airfare and it makes me want to book a flight back now. Yes, I’m a Christian and really enjoyed 🙂

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