Photo: Jimmy Baikovicius
Underground mines, a collection of dark, subterranean thrills.
Buried caverns of minerals galore, dimly lit shafts, snaking passageways of tunnels.
Now having fallen into disuse, these underground mines remain shrouded in mystery – an enigma for the adventurous to unravel. Dig deep in the Earth’s crust, into these forgotten worlds of decades past.
Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
Complete with a basilica dome, this subterranean chamber, an architectural feat 180 metres underground, is Colombia’s beautiful house of worship, where thousands of Catholics congregate for Sunday service.
Brilliant hues of light splash across the enormous cross at the main altar, carved majestically into the walls of salt.
The magnificent archway leads to hollows converted into devotional chapels, each representing a key moment in Via Dolorosa, Jesus’ walk to his crucifixion.
Even the non-religious stand in awe of its grandeur.
Did you know?
You can taste the rock salt right off the walls of Zipaquirá’s Salt Cathedral – this salt is more than a hundred million years old!
Photo: Free Enterprise Radon Health Mine
Free Enterprise Radon Health Mine
United States of America
Ailing visitors from all over the country converge within the rocky depths of Montana’s first and oldest now defunct uranium mine for an omnipotent remedy of sorts.
Over the years, the uranium decayed into radioactive, paradoxically therapeutic radon. This contentious treatment has drawn hundreds, nursing all sorts of maladies, from respiratory illnesses to arthritis and even cancer, to which miraculous recoveries, documented in glowing testimonials, bear testament.
The treatment process is simple: ‘patients’ in the Radon Room lounge on cushioned seats, eagerly anticipating healing as the radon contamination works its magic around their varied afflictions.
Photo: Bellevue Mine Tours
Bellevue Underground Mine
Descending 150 feet into the Earth, into the hollows of what was once the heart of Canada’s coal industry. Enter the chilly, murky gloom of Bellevue, Western Canada’s only authentic coal mine, concealing a rich, difficult history of explosions, strikes and lives lost.
The web of narrow, angled tunnels unfold only as far as your headlamp can illuminate. Otherwise, the darkness all around is eerily disconcerting.
With a knowledgeable, lantern-wielding guide by your side, this is the site for the most immersive history lesson, peppered with age-old mining equipment and chilling, true stories surrounding miners of the past.
Photo: Bonne Terre Mine
Bonne Terre Mine
United States of America
Underground and underwater, Bonne Terre Mine is now the world’s largest freshwater dive resort, divulging an experience not quite like any other.
Once the world’s largest producers of lead ore before it was flooded, this national historic site has transformed into divers’ paradise, the centrepiece of which is Billion Gallon Lake.
24 different dive trails abound in the crystal clear water of over 100 feet visibility. Glide past oar carts, railroad tracks, rusting equipment, slurry pipes and an elevator shaft – artefacts of the submerged mining world frozen in time.