2021-06-04

Katskhi Pillar

Katskhi Church is perched on a limestone pillar more than 40m high

The most isolated church in the world | From the city of Kutaisi, drive through beautiful, winding country roads about 60km in length to reach Katskhi village, you will be surprised to see the Georgia Pillar - a natural limestone formation over 40m high, towering in the middle space. The rock church Georgia, perched atop the stone pillar is Katskhi Church. One of the most famous structures in the Imereti region, also known as the world's most isolated and holiest church.

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Katskhi pillar

The Katskhi Pillar


Katskhis Sveti in Georgian - "Katskhi Pillar" is the place that engraves in the memory once and for all, leaving the most indelible impression. Katskhi Church was built in the middle of the 5th century and kept a divine watch until the 15th century. In the opinion of many scholars, this ancient church was built by ascetics, who were the first Christians to reach the top of the limestone pillar to pray and perform religious ceremonies. However, how they made this church is still a mystery. In addition to the church, this ancient structure also has a burial chamber, a wine cellar, a curtain wall, and three living rooms for hermits. Standing from the church, you can see the whole surrounding valley, the Imereti region with the colorful beauty of the changing forests below, the silver-gray limestone mountains, and the blue sky above.

Katskhi Pillar in Western Georgia


The rock church Georgia — The only way to reach this church is to climb the thin metal steps. Every day, the monks living below make the trek to the top of the mountain to pray, a practice that is said to bring them closer to God. Currently, only local monks are allowed to climb the church - something incredibly taboo for women. However, visitors can still learn about this unique church at the complex built at the foot of the rock. You can climb to the first floor of the Katskhi Pillar Georgia, where there is a prayer area and a 6th-century crucifix marked into the limestone - one of the earliest examples of Christian symbolism still in existence today. 
First Image / Flickr
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Katskhi pillar in western Georgia
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Katskhi pillar Georgia
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Georgia pillar
Image / Flickr
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Georgian pillars
Image / Flickr
Katskhi pillar inside — The arrival of monk Maxime Qavtaradze in 1995 saw religious activity revived. The National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia supported the restoration of the monastery on top of the pillar between 2005 and 2009. 

Maxime Qavtaradze was a monk from the Orthodox Church who lived 20 years on Katskhi Pillar, going down just twice per week. The rock's top has evidence of stylites using it as recently as the 13th century. Qavtaradze, with the help of local villagers as well as the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia, restored the 1200-year old monastic chapel at the top of this rock. In 2013, a film documentary was made about the project.

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Katskhi pillar Monk
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Katskhi pillar inside
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Image / Flickr
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The Katskhi pillar
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Katskhi
Image / Flickr
The Katskhi Pillar, Georgia | Video

The Katskhi Column, Georgia | Map

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Katskhi pillar
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