Friday, December 17, 2010

Bogota: Cathedrals and Museums

The capital city of Colombia boasts hundreds of museums and thousands of cathedrals. We visited the gold museum, which houses the Poporo Qumbaya, the symbol of Steve and Luz Helena's wedding.

We walked down several picturesque streets, including one lined with shops selling military paraphernalia. On this street is the Police Museum, which showcases the life and death of Colombian druglord, Pablo Escobar.

We caught a funicular up to the Monserrate Cathedral at the top of the hill. There are several myths surrounding the cathedral, the most important of which is never to enter the cathedral with your partner if you are not married. If you do this, you will be doomed never to marry each other. Since we visited the cathedral on the day before Steve and Luz Helena's wedding, we made a conscientious effort to separate the partners!

The Cathedral is also famous for having a black Mary and Jesus. Thousands of Colombians make pilgrimages to the Cathedral to seek miracles from the fallen Jesus.

150km outside of Bogota are the salt mines of Zipaquira. Here an underground Roman Catholic church has been built within the tunnels of the mine 180m below ground. The cathedral is full of symbolic carvings and chambers reflecting birth, life and death. It holds 3,000 people for services on Sundays, and baptisms take place with salt water.

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