There is a place, far away, that is so extraordinarily mystical from don’t look real. It is a place that apparently seems inaccessible because it is placed so high that it seems to cross the clouds. And indeed, its location is truly unique in the world.
It’s about a small church which ideally overlooks the entire region of Imereti, Georgia, because it is located on the top of a majestic monolith that soars towards the sky up to a height of 40 meters.
All around, to frame, there is a luxuriant and luxuriant vegetation that helps to create an idyllic and beautiful landscape, but also mystical and spiritual, which seems to be configured as the gateway to paradise.
Katskhi Pillar and the church that touches the sky
We are located in Georgia, about 10 kilometers from the mining town of Chiatura. This is where in a totally surprising way a gigantic natural pillar bursts into the scenery which completely defines the scenario. His name is Katskhi Pillarand is a limestone monolith immersed in a natural and unspoiled landscape.
Its height is incredible: Katskhi Pillar reaches 40 meters, coming to earn a place in the clouds. But what really enchants, in this surreal vision, is the presence of a small church that is located right on its top and that seems to touch heaven.
Local inhabitants consider it the pillar of lifebecause in fact it is precisely in that place that, in total solitude, the ascetics for centuries have gone to live spiritual and unique experiences.
Also regarded by locals as True Cross symbol, Katskhi Pillar is an extremely charming and seductive place that has always attracted everyone’s attention. There are many local legends and stories that revolve around this sacred place, some of these see the use of the pillar also by ancient religions for fertility rites.
But as Christianity spread to Georgia, Katskhi Pillar became a place of worship. According to historians, the ascetic monks began to inhabit the top of the natural pillar around the tenth century, precisely in that small church built in the sixth century in honor of the Byzantine theologian monk Maximus the Confessor.
For a long time the hermitage was forgotten and abandoned, until a group of climbers, in 1944, climbing the limestone monolith discovered that place of worship. The monastery building was restored and religious activity at the top was resumed in the 1990s.
The daring pilgrimage to get closer to paradise
The small Orthodox church, located on top of the gigantic monolith, can only be reached via an ancient iron staircase. It is a dangerous pilgrimage that the monks who choose to climb to the top face, but necessary to get closer to paradise.
Since 1995, the Orthodox priest Maxime Qavtaradze has lived in Katskhi Pillar. The monk lives a daily life of intense spirituality and solitude, descending from the rock only once a week. To do this he has to climb 131 steps attached to the wall.
Travelers are not allowed on pilgrimage to the top, reserved only for male priests. However, people who come to visit Katskhi Pillar are only allowed to climb a first part of the limestone pillar, to reach a 6th century cross set in the monolith and pray there.