The Salt Cathedral

The Salt Cathedral lies 200 metres below the surface of Zipaquirá, Colombia.

Altar of the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Christian churches have been underground for a long long time. I’m quite partial to the cave churches of Göreme in Turkey, many of which date back to the 11th century CE. But the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is something special.

This church (not, technically, a cathedral) was built in the hollowed out tunnels of a rock salt mine on the border of Zipaquirá, Colombia. The first version, constructed in the 1950s, was shut down because of safety concerns in 1992, and a second church – built 60 metres below the original – opened in 1995.

The salt cathedral is lit by a lovely eerie blue (electric) light. The walls feature replicas of Michelangelo’s Pietà and a sculptural interpretation of his Creation of Adam – amongst many other religious sculptures. I cannot tell whether it’s more popular as a church or as a tourist destination, but I’d visit it either way.

Sculpture in the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
William Neuheisel, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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