Zipaquirá may be small in size, but in this Colombian village you will find a wonder of the world. At least that is how many people call La Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá. This is one of the most extraordinary works made by human hands. The salt cathedral is carved underground in an old salt mine and is the reason why both tourists and Colombians go to Zipaquirá.
Centuries ago there was a salt mine in this village that was even used by the Muisca Indians, in the third century BC. The cathedral was carved underground for the miners. They used the commodity for trading.Initially, only a chapel was carved out, but later a complete cathedral was carved. Builders constructed a church in the 1950s .The modern-day cathedral opened to the public in 1995. Sundays and celebrations are still held on Sundays.
Fun fact: Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá can not really be called a cathedral, because it does not have a bishop. This place is very special in terms of architecture and location: there are only two other salt cathedrals in the world to visit. These can be found in Poland. This makes the cathedral in Colombia very unique.
Length of Visit
You can speed walk your way through the whole underground cathedral in about 30 minutes. But tearing through a holy space isn’t recommended. What is recommended is taking a guided tour. Most guided tours in the Salt Cathedral last about 1.5 to 2 hours.
From the entrance you go down about 200 meters to reach the ship. On the route here you pass several crosses that represent the life path of Jesus Christ. Along the way you will also encounter a beautiful viewpoint and you can take a first look at the cathedral’s space. Eventually you reach the chapel and you stand in the imposing hall with the large illuminated cross. The walls seem to glitter; one of the visible memories of the history of this former salt mine. After the chapel and the large halls you reach the tourist area with shops where you can buy souvenirs. In addition, it is possible to visit a museum and book a mine tour. Do not forget to pay a visit to The Mirror Pool, hidden between the shops. Find more information on the official website of the salt cathedral.
Holy Week Crowds
Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is the week leading up to Easter. Easter Sunday seems to be the most observed day during Holy Week for Christians in the United States and other parts of the world, but in Colombia, the whole week is significant, especially Good Friday. Why am I telling you this? It’s to let you know that if you try to visit the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá during Holy Week, you will be fighting crowds through the whole experience. Well, hopefully you won’t actually be fighting people. It’s just best to visit before or after Holy Week.
Even though the Salt Cathedral is a Catholic space, it doesn’t mean non-secular people or folks practicing other religions won’t enjoy this destination. Sure, you won’t be kneeling and praying at each station, but the attraction will still delight anyone interested in history, culture or just licking salty walls.