Sacred Places

**Monserrate is a mountain that dominates the city centre of Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia. It rises to 3,152 metres (10,341 ft) above the sea level, where there is a church (built in the 17th century) with a shrine, devoted to "El Señor Caído" (Fallen Lord). 

The hill is a pilgrim destination, as well as a tourist attraction. In addition to the church, the summit contains a restaurant and many smaller tourist facilities. Monserrate can be accessed by aerial tramway, a funicular or by climbing, the preferred way of pilgrims. The hill also provides spectacular views of the city.

Both Monserrate and its neighbor Guadalupe Hill are icons of Bogotá's cityscape.

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 **Machu Picchu pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,430 meters (8,000 ft) above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows.

 It was built around the year 1460, but was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a hundred years later, at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Although known locally, it was said to have been forgotten for centuries when the site was brought to worldwide attention in 1911.

 Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its primary buildings are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. These are located in what is known by archaeologists as the Sacred District of Machu Picchu.

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 **The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is an underground church built in a tunnel of salt mines 200 metres inside a salt mountain near the town of Zipaquirá, in Cundinamarca, Colombia.

 Curving and twisting tunnels descend into the Roman Catholic church, passing 14 small chapels representing the stations of the cross, which illustrate the events of Jesus' last journey. Each station has a cross and several kneeling platforms carved into the salt structure. The temple at the bottom has three sections, representing the birth, life, and death of Jesus.

 The mines were exploited by the Muisca culture in the eras before the Spanish came to the Americas.

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 **Iglesia de las Lajas, In the remote mountains of southwestern Columbia, Las Lajas certainly ranks among the most enchantingly beautiful pilgrimage shrines in all the world. A scene of fairy tale splendor, its loveliness takes ones breath away. Sparkling white with soaring spires, the cathedral clings precariously to the side of a sheer cliff. This cliff rises above a swiftly running river which, in the space of less than a mile, does two sharp S bends through a steep mountain gorge. Two waterfalls shoot powerfully from the jungle-covered cliffs, plummeting a hundred feet to the surging river. Rains come and go frequently and lingering mists hide and reveal the church with the quickness of a magician’s hands. In concert with the ceaseless rumbling of flowing waters, church bells echo through the mountain valleys. I stayed for two nights in an old convent overlooking this scene and spent hours each day meditating in the church.

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 **Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of Salisbury. One of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones and sits at the centre of the densest complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

 Archaeologists had believed that the iconic stone monument was erected around 2500 BC, as described in the chronology below. However one recent theory has suggested that the first stones were not erected until 2400-2200 BC, whilst another suggests that bluestones may have been erected at the site as early as 3000 BC . The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC.

 New archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project indicates that Stonehenge served as a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. The dating of cremated remains found that burials took place as early as 3000 B.C, when the first ditches were being built around the monument. Burials continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years when the giant stones which mark the landmark were put up.

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 **The Pyramid of the Moon is the second largest building in Teotihuacan after the Pyramid of the Sun. The Pyramid of the Moon is located in the northern part of Teotihuacan and it mimics the contours of Cerro Gordo. Some have called it Tenan which in Nahuatl means "mother or protective stone." The Pyramid of the Moon covers a structure older than the Pyramid of the Sun which existed prior to 200 A. D.

 The Pyramid's construction between 200 and 450 A.D. completed the bilateral symmetry of the temple complex. A slope in front of the staircase gives access to the Avenue of the Dead, a platform atop the pyramid was used to conduct ceremonies in honor of Chalchiuhtlicue, the goddess of water and of the moon. This platform and the sculpture found at the pyramid's bottom are thus dedicated to Chalchiuhtlicue.

 Opposite Chalchiuhtlicue's altar is the Plaza of the Moon. The Plaza contains a central altar and an original construction with internal divisions, consisting of four rectangular and diagonal bodies that formed what is known as the "Teotihuacan Cross."

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