Colombia travel blog by Mark Berman -
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Through a brightly illuminated red tunnel into pitch black corridors illuminated by crosses, this is the first stage of the journey to what could well be the worlds
most amazing underground light show! It's none other than the one-of-a-kind Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira built 180 metres underground in an unused salt mine and it's
the light show that makes this place so special.
Stations Of The Cross
14 chapels connected by tunnels take you on a journey of the last steps of Jesus while he carried the cross to his
crucifixion (the stations of the cross). It is extremely dark in this part of the cathedral and quite eerie too, you can kneel and pray if you wish. The crosses
are bathed in blue, purple, red and golden light, sometimes just black and white. Having actually been to Jerusalem in Israel some 3 times and walked around the real
stations of the cross I passed through this section quite fast, most people do. The colors of the lights are forever changing throughout the cathedral as you walk,
it's very cinematic and dramatic!
Inside The Salt Cathedral
From the stations of the cross you see the white-glowing angel sitting on top of a rock, this is where you descend down
to the lower chambers and spectacular balcony of the Salt Cathedral. On the balcony stands a sculpture of an angel blowing a horn in the direction of the huge cross
and altar below the big dome. This is a beautiful and surreal scene indeed. From the balcony after descending down to the main chamber you are wowed by the glass
chandelier hanging from above and the 'Holy Family' sculpture with its ever-changing colors. I spent 1hr 45mins underground in the Salt Cathedral but you can see it
in much shorter time, 30-40mins for example.
Getting To & Eating In Zipaquira
Zipaquira is located 42kms by road north of Bogota
, there are regular buses or you can take a train
. I arrived
in Zipaquira from Villa de Leyva
3hrs further north. During daylight hours it can take an hour and a half to get out of central Bogota with all the traffic
congestion - just be warned. Of course everybody comes to Zipaquira to see the Salt Cathedral but the city is also nice to have a look around. The main plaza / park
has the city cathedral, the town hall and other smart-looking buildings with red-tiled roofs and balconies surrounding it. Just 1 block from the main plaza is Plaza
de la Independencia (Independence Square) and this is where you want to come to eat while in Zipaquira! This plaza is completely surrounded by cafes, bars and
restaurants. I enjoyed some very nice food from here at the end of the day.
Bus To Guatavita
From Zipaquira I headed eastward to Guatavita
, 90mins by bus (yes it takes that long to travel 50kms - more if your bus breaks down along the way like mine did).