Salt Cathedral, La Catedral de sal

Trip Start Dec 07, 2005
Trip End Apr 10, 2007

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

zach, daniela, and i took a daytrip to the nearby town of zipaquira to see the underground cathedral carved out of (into?) a salt mine. although i thought it would turn out to be some catholic kitsch, the place was actually really impressive--an impressively, if not a bit theatrically--lit. the shafts leading into the cathedral were at least 10 meters tall and just as wide; much different from the narrow mineshafts we squeezed through in potosi. it was pretty dark, and all the lighting was indirec, so light seemed to eminate softly from the walls. it reminded me of space mountain in walt disney world, just without the roller coaster (montana rusa, or ¨russian moutain¨ in spanish). there were 14 crosses carved out of salt and situated along the path into the church, representing the stations of the cross. when they do weddings here (of course), the bride is brought directly to the church, while the groom has to walk in via the stations of the cross. that got a few chuckles in our tour group, but it isn`t that funny, is it? the cathedral itself was a massive space carved out of the mountain. behind the altar is a giant, backlit cross--16 meters tall and 10 meters across--carved into the wall. from the back of the nave, the cross looks like a white cross hanging somehow from the cieling. but it is actually carved into the rock and the white lights behind it make it look like a positive rather than a negative carving.

on the way back, we took our time getting out of the tunnels and found some good spots for photos, especially a small pool surrounded by salt deposits on the walls. we skipped the salt museum next door in favor of a walk through the plaza and then through the market, where we bought some fresh coffee from one stand. after lunch we grabbed an avena and headed back to bogota.
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