Nemocón Salt Mine – Nemocón, Colombia - Atlas Obscura
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Nemocón, Colombia

Nemocón Salt Mine

Colorful lights and mirror-like brine pools create trippy illusions within the historic mine. 

Bright lights bathe the walls of this massive salt mine in a surreal, colorful glow. They’re reflected within brine pools that double as mirrors, creating the dazzling illusion of a never-ending rainbow loop that beckons explorers deeper into the network of tunnels. 

The mine at Nemocón offers a fantastic look into the area’s salty past. It’s the second-largest salt mine in Colombia, beaten only by the magnificent nearby Salt Cathedral.

Different chambers within the mine highlight various facets of the region’s lucrative salt mining history, transforming the subterranean site into an unusual, experiential museum. There’s even a small church inside that holds weekly mass on Sundays and an enormous “heart of the Virgin” constructed from salt.

Between 1819 and 1968, generations of workers extracted roughly 8 million tons of salt from the mine. But even before then, locals have long been taking advantage of the wealth of minerals buried just below the mountainous surface.

Archaeologists discovered ceramics dating back to the fourth century BC that show Nemocón was already a booming hotspot for salt extraction. Centuries later, the Muisca people—named the “Salt People,” for obvious reasons—brought the industry to new heights. As a result of their mines, Nemocón flourished as a high-altitude market town and salt trading hub.