Cathedral of Salt – Zipaquira, Colombia - Atlas Obscura

Zipaquira, Colombia

Cathedral of Salt

Cathedral carved out of salt, located a mile below the earth's surface. 

The story of the Cathedral of Salt of Zipaquira is certainly one of persistence. The original cathedral was carved out of an active salt mine beginning in 1950. Inaugurated in 1954, the cathedral only lasted for 36 years before authorities, worried about its structural soundness, shut it down. This, however, did not deter the town of Zipaquira. In 1991, only a year after shuttering the old cathedral, work began on a new salt church some 200 feet below the old one.

The current salt cathedral is roughly 75 meters long and 25 meters high, with a giant cross carved into the back wall. It can theoretically accommodate 10,000 people. Smaller naves dug out around the main chamber illustrate the life of Christ from birth to crucifixion. While clearly devoted to Catholicism, the salt “cathedral” is not in fact recognized by the Church, and has no official status. This doesn’t stop the 3,000-plus visitors that come to the cathedral on most Sundays from praising the glory of both God and his mineral-ensconced home.