Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, Colombia
Located an hour or so north of Bogotá in the town of Zipaquirá, the Salt Cathedral stands as one of the top "Wonders of Colombia" as voted by Colombians. Descend 180 meters (590 feet) down into the depths of a mountain and you will find a full blown Catholic church built in the heart of a salt mine. Originally created by miners in 1951, a new and larger cathedral was created in 1995 due to safety concerns. Today, workers still excavate salt in the sections of the mountain above and below the Salt Cathedral. Although the Zipaquirá Salt Mine is one of countless salt mines in the world, the Salt Cathedral is one of only two, the other being in Poland. As you descend the tunnels along the route to the main chapel, you pass by 14 stations of the cross, modeled after the exact stations in Jerusalem. After the last station, you reach a viewing area where you can look down into the main nave of the cathedral. To reach the bottom floor, you must descend one of three stairwells--choose wisely as this will determine your level of sin and therefore amount of repentance required. With no bishop, the Salt Cathedral does not hold official status in the Catholic church, yet many visitors make a pilgrimage here on Sundays and major religious holidays. For those interested in emeralds, the cathedral shop is supposedly one of the best places to buy the precious gems in the country.