The first section of the tour is pretty lame for a non-pilgrim. As we slowly head down a tunnel we stop at fourteen different places each representing a station of the cross as seen in Jerusalem. Pretty much each station has a variance of a cross carved out of the salt and the guide tells us the creator's artistic reasoning for doing it as such. This takes quite awhile and the combination of boredom, mine acoustics and the guide's rapid fire español has me unable to focus by station #5. Disappointed, we are thinking , "Is this it?" What a waste of 16 bucks (not including transportation costs). Luckily the tour takes a sharp incline down and we soon find ourselves in an immense chamber 180 meters underground which serves as a functioning Catholic church.
|The pew of the church. They hold weddings here|
and get up to 3,000 people for Sunday mass
This salt cathedral was completed in 1995 under an original built in the mine in 1950's that was deemed unstable and unsafe. To complete the new cathedral an incredible 250,000 tons of rock and salt was removed. The air down here feels noticeably thinner and looking up at the extremely high ceiling makes one wonder what is actually keeping up all the salt and rock from collapsing on our heads. This must be why in 2007 the salt cathedral was named the "First Wonder of Colombia". It also explains why miners are quite devout, have their own patron saint - the Virgen de Guasa and would want somewhere to pray close to their place of work.
|Want to know how to create a salt cathedral controversy?: |
take notice the indigenous features of the artist's depiction of Maria
|Salt mine movie theatre|
And of course don't forget to visit the Salt Cathedral gift shop:
Your kids will just love playing with the salt miner action figures. Choose either the modern miner with pick and helmet