We take you for a walk through the underground Salt Cathedral Bogota outside of the big city in a small town called Zipaquirá. This area of the country is rich in salt mines active since the 5th century B.C., and Colombia at the time was one of the most sought-after countries for the valuable natural resource of salt. This video is our first time shooting video in 4K, and it was a spectacular place to shoot.
The cathedral is pretty darn impressive. There are only two cathedrals of its kind in the world (the other is in Poland), and it’s built 200m underground. Not only is it considered one of Colombia’s paramount artistic and architectural accomplishments, but it was also honored with the number 1 of the 7 wonders of Colombia.
Essentially, it’s an underground church built in a tunnel of a salt mine in the Halite Mountains. Originally constructed in 1954, significant structural problems led to its closure and then it reopened after Bogotano architect Roswell Garavito Pearl and Bogotan engineer Jorge Enrique Castelblanco Reyes were awarded the job and it reopened in 1995.
The walk down the tunnel is a series of interlinked rooms and chambers including 14 small chapels, and three large shrines and the impressive large cathedral that can hold up to 8400 people. Throughout the tunnel rests beautiful salt and marble sculptures all marvelously lit with blue and purple lighting.
A tour here lasts about an hour; it is a little cool down there, so bring sleeves and comfortable shoes. Normally, I am a little claustrophobic, yet I had no concern wandering through the surprisingly large tunnel, especially the impressively large cathedral at the end.
Zipaquirá (the town where the cathedral resides) is approximately an hour outside of Bogotá (50kms), and you can easily get there by bus, private car or steam train tour. Tour operators like Impulse Travel offer guided trips to Zipaquirá by steam train or private car from your hotel in Bogotá.
Spend some time in Zipaquirá, it’s a charming colonial town, and to get more of the local flavor avoid the large western style restaurants that reside along the highway entering the town, and explore the town streets for restaurants and shops.
It is open Sunday-to-Sunday 9am-6pm. It is quite crowded on Sundays where locals and Bogotanos come to worship (although an interesting time to see the cathedral in all its glory), or you can wander through it a little more on another day by avoiding the large crowds.
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Troy is an ex-TV editor and producer originally from Canada. He quit his 20+ year career to pursue a life of long-term, slow and transformative travel. Now with his wife Dorene, he helps people who want to redefine their midlife by making conscious changes at TravelLifeExperiences. He also works with travel and hospitality brands to create and share their video stories at TravelLifeMedia.com