Georgia is famous not only for the places that are located on the ground or in the mountains, but you can also find something spectacular in the air. In this article, I will tell you about the Katskhi Pillar, that is located in the region of Imereti. When you see this place, you will feel yourself closer to God or closer to the universe.
The Katskhi Pillar is a 40-meter high limestone monolith that is located in the village of Katskhi. This place is near Chiatura, that is the western part of Georgia. In the past, the pillar was a place of worship, and people were calling it “the Pillar of Life”. During the times when we believed in idols, the Katskhi Pillar was a representation of the local fertility god. So, it was a holy place for different rituals. After spreading of Christianity in the 4th century, this place became a favorite place for the monks. They loved to sit or stand on the top of the pillar and pray. While praying, the monks were feeling themselves closer to God. St Simeon was the most famous pillar monk who stayed there for 30 years. St Alypius stayed on the Katskhi Pillar for 67 years, and that is why the region became known as the place of the monks.
Two churches were built on the Katskhi Pillar between the 6th and the 9th centuries. It was very hard to reach the top of the pillar. Only in 1945, the first researchers managed to climb there to do research. They found several hermit cells and the remains of a wine cellar, that shows how much Georgians love to drink wine and how important the centuries-old tradition of winemaking is for us. However, nobody knows how they managed to build churches on the top of the pillar, and that’s why this place is still mysterious.
Later, in the 1990s, Father Maxim Qavtaradze rebuilt one of the churches with the help of local people. He is a 59-year-old Orthodox monk who constructed a 40-meter-long ladder, made from the iron. Father Maxim symbolically called this ladder ‘the stairway to heaven’. In the beginning, only male visitors were allowed to climb to the Katskhi Pillar. However, nowadays it is closed for the public. The reason is that Father Maxim settled in a small cottage, that is constructed on top of the pillar. However, men can still try to get permission from him to visit the Katskhi Pillar. Father Maxime leaves the pillar only twice a week for food and supplies. This is the only time he communicates with the outside world.
While being in Georgia, do not forget to visit the Katskhi Pillar in the Imereti region. You can also visit Chiatura that is nearby and enjoy ropeways. Even if you can't climb there, you will feel yourself closer to God. The silence and the beauty of this place make everyone calm and happy.
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