The Katskhi Pillar is a remarkable sight, towering 40 metres above the rolling hills of Central Georgia like a colossal club. This structure's sheer size and mythical aura have made it a place of great reverence for centuries. Long before the arrival of Christianity, the pillar was a holy site for pagans, who most likely used it for fertility rites and other sacred rituals. Even today, the pillar continues to captivate and inspire visitors worldwide who come to witness its grandeur and historical significance.
During the 4th century, Georgia embraced Christianity as its state religion. This put Georgia in second place, following Armenia, as one of the first countries to do so. As part of this religious transformation, the Christian faith replaced pagan places of worship with Christian ones, leading to the conversion of Katskhi Pillar. The pillar, which was once a site of pagan worship, was now repurposed into a place of Christian devotion. A small church was erected on the site during the seventh century, marking the beginning of a new era in Georgia's religious history.
Perched on top of the Katskhi Pillar, an awe-inspiring sight awaits - a church that harks back to the practice of early Christian ascetics known as Stylites. These devout Christians followed the example of Saint Simeon Stylites, a revered figure who sat atop a wooden pillar for almost four decades, torturing his body and devoting his spirit to his religion. The Katskhi Pillar, rising high and mighty, resembles the famous Greek monasteries of Meteora - a testament to the power of human faith and devotion.
Nestled atop a towering rock column lies a small church, currently being constructed by the Georgian Orthodox Church. To reach this awe-inspiring site, one must embark on a journey of dizzying heights, climbing a vertigo-inducing iron ladder on the upper half of the pillar while navigating through scaffolding on the lower half.
The modern church building houses the earthly remains of a faithful believer, whose death atop the pillar remains shrouded in mystery. The church's location is a testament to the unwavering devotion of this person, who found solace in the heights above.
However, it's important to note that women are not permitted to climb to the top, thus adding an air of exclusivity to this already remarkable site.