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 the 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 source 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