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Visiting Colombia’s underground Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira


The entry has a utilitarian, slightly industrial feel, appropriate for the working mine it once was. It is mid-week and the car park is almost empty. We walk past old machinery, like modern works of art, testimony to its heritage and a small café and its two lone customer sitting at one of the outside tables drinking coffee.

Then we gently descend, the path becomes a tunnel. We move out of IMG_1156the sunshine. Out of the warmth. And into the cool, dark, entry to Colombia’s Catedral de Sal de Zipaquira, the Roman Catholic salt cathedral about 50kms north of Bogota and some 200 meters underground.

The rich deposits date back to when the earth shrugged 250 million years ago and created the Andes. Since pre-Colombian times the local Muisca society had mined the salt providing them with an important IMG_1152source of economic exchange. Today it is still a functioning church, with thousands attending the Sunday services, more on special celebrations like Easter, Christmas and saint’s days.

The entry tunnel takes visitors through the 14 Stations of the Cross, each with a small chapel comprising of a large cross and individual kneelers, all carved out of the rock. An eerie blue light emanates

Museo del Ora in Bogota spectacularly showcases Colombia’s golden history


The golden face, its piercing eyes commanding your attention with unsettling power,IMG_1112 seems to float in the subdued lighting, an exquisite symbol of mystery and mysticism created by master craftsmen more than two thousand years ago. It alone would be worth the visit to the Museo del Ora in Bogota, Colombia. But it is just one of thousands of priceless items on show, and that is only a small part of an unrivalled collection of 35,000 items of gold Pre-Hispanic treasures. There are also about 20,000 beautiful and pottery, wood, shell and textile artefacts including some wonderfully evocative pottery figures.

Muisca_raft_Legend_of_El_Dorado_Offerings_of_goldThe series of artfully lit glass displays reveal a wonder of masks and figurines, ornate breast plates, jewellery and ornaments, strange creatures that are half man-half beast, tiny impish figures, carved ceremonial containers, playful representations of animals like the jaguar and the eagle. Probably the most famous and precious exhibit is the Balsa Muisca an unbelievably detailed miniature model of a raft being used as


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