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FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA

Facts about the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira

History of the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá

In fact, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is a church built in the shaft of an abandoned halite salt mine 200 m underground in Zipaquirá, at 2,652 masl, about 50 km from Bogotá. It is both a tourist attraction and a site of pilgrimage.

 

While Colombians consider the Salt Cathedral of great architectural beauty and a sacred place, some foreigners have mixed feelings about it all. Whatever your taste, the place is very impressive in its architecture and lighting and taking in its national context, a place well worth visiting. As many as 3,000 visitors may visit on Sundays, although there is no official  religious status. It is especially busy during Easter, with thousands attending services marking the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

 

The halite mines were aready in use by the Muisca Indians since the 5th century BC. Mining started in the late 1800s, while commercial mining started in 1815, leaving behind a vast network of grottoes, pits and passageways. Most exhausted mines have been abandoned and sealed up, but Zipaquirá's miners and church officials convinced the government to assist in the construction of the present day Zipaquira Salt Cathedral.

 

FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA:

 

Mining equipment left behind in the mine.

The original shafts looked rather coarse.

 

Why consider booking our Colombia National Parks Tour? Because for the same price, our tour gets you to ALL places for which Colombia is famous, and on top of that, you get to see 7 National Parks/Reserves accompanied by a naturalist guide. There is nothing similar on the market. As Colombia can be combined with other countries, we organize tours in modules: Bogota and surrounding Andes, Caribbean Coast and the Amazon of Ecuador; the latter for the Colombian Amazon still not being recommended for foreign visitors. Colombia is a very large country, so you need to fly. To do so at hardly any additional costs, you need to book both Bogota and Cartagena - and Quito if you want to include the Amazon module - in your international ticket.

Destinations Overview:  Bogota old town, Cartagena, Villa de Leyva Zipaguira Salt Mine Church, Chingaza Reserve, Iguaque National Park, Flamencos Reserve, Cienega Mangroves Reserve, Lake Fuquene, Tayrona National Park, Manaure Salt Flats.

 

Originally, miners had carved a sanctuary, for their daily prayers for protection before starting to work. By the early 1950s, the original Salt Cathedral was constructed dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary, Patron Saint of miners, consisting of three naves and a cross. Structural problems and safety concerns led to the construction of a new cathedral, lasting from 1991 - 1995. Its corridors and sanctuaries were expansions and adjustments to the caves left behind from the previous mine.

Main sections

After entering the mine trough an original fortified tunnel, one enters a shaft with 14 small chapels, representing the stations of the cross, of Jesus' last journey. Each station has a cross and several kneeling benches carved out of the halite salt deposit.

 

FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA:

Entrance into the Salt Cathedral.

 

FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA:

An original fortified tunnel, shows how the mine shafts looked originally. Later it was deemed unnecessary to make such fortifications

Fortification  from close by.

 

The three naves: They are interconnected by a crack, symbolizing the birth and death of Christ. Copies of Creation of Adam and Pietá can be seen;

Four large cylindrical columns represent the Four Evangelists.

 

FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA:

FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA:

Crosses representing the stations of the cross, of Jesus' last journey.

 

The Dome: Located at the end of the main descending entrance ramp. From here, the visitor descends to the bas relief cross chambers, the balcony and the Narthex labyrinth. The temple at the bottom has three sections, representing the birth, life, and death of Jesus.

 

FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: The passageway leading into the deepest par of the mine.FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: The main chapel in the heart of the church.

The passageway leading into the deepest par of the mine.

The main chapel in the heart of the church.

 

FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: The Dome with 4 pillars representing the 4 evangelists.FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: One of the pillars representing the 4 evangelists.

The Dome with 4 pillars representing the 4 evangelists.

One of the pillars representing the 4 evangelists.

 

Most of the spaces and sculptures are carved out of the halite rock deposits, but some statues are made from marble.

 

FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: A side chapel uses an original cave. FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: A Christmas scene made of marble sculptures.

A side chapel uses an original cave.

A Christmas scene made of marble sculptures.

 

FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: The main chapel as seen from a balcony above.FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: The main chapel inside.

The main chapel as seen from a balcony above.

The main chapel inside.

 

FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: The main chapel as seen from a balcony above.FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: The reflection mirror pool.

The main chapel as seen from a balcony above.

The reflection mirror pool.

 

FACTS ABOUT THE SALT CATHEDRAL OF ZIPAQUIRA: The most dramatic icon of the church, a main cross carved into the rough wall of a huge grotto.

The most dramatic icon of the church, a main cross carved into the rough wall of a huge grotto.

These are the principle Facts about the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira

 

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