Highlights of Colombia

Zipaquirá

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Best known for its impressive Salt Cathedral, Zipaquirá was one of the most important territories of the pre-Colombian Muisca civilisation which inhabited the plateau between Cundinamarca and Boyaca departments in the eastern Andes. The Muisca were the most numerous indigenous people in Colombia before the arrival of the Spanish. Salt was indeed one of their most valuable products, extracted from the ground mainly to preserve food, but also a very important commodity that was traded far and wide for products such as tobacco, coca, and of course gold.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Alexander Von Humboldt visited Zipaquirá and, after observing the extraction methods used by the locals, suggested a completely different method which led to the creation of the first salt mines.

In 1932, in response to the religious devotion of the miners, the government decided to build a cathedral inside the mountain using the mine extraction chambers. In 1992 the cathedral was closed due to structural failures, but just one year before the construction of a new cathedral had already started. The new cathedral was finished and opened in 1995 and is now one of the wonders of Colombia and one of its most visited sites.

 

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