Pictures & Images of Katskhi Pillar Georgian Orthodox church, Georgia (country) - { 19 images } Created 21 Jan 2019

Pictures photos images of Katskhi pillar Georgian Orthodox church on a 40 m (130 ft) natural limestone rock pillar near Chiatura, Imereti Region, Georgia (country). The Katskhi pillar church is one of those odd curiosities that we all find so intriguing. A single rock pillar rises 40 m above the wooded limestone landscape of the Katskhura River Valley. There are no other pillars or rock formations so the Katskhi pillar sticks out like a sore thumb. The sheer sides of the Katskhi pillar make it incredibly difficult to climb and in modern times the ruins on top of it remained un-excavated until the mountaineer Alexander Japaridze climbed it in 1944. Even then serious studies did not begin until 1999. These revealed that the 150 sq meter flat summit of Katskhi pillar was probably occupied for the first time in the 9th century and was used as a Christian Hermitage. The use of rock pillars by Christian hermits and monks dates back to at least 423 when Simeon Stylites the Elder took up his abode on the top of a pillar and turned what seemed to be an impossible way of living into a religious craze. Rock pillars were not used just by hermits as can be seen by the medieval rock monasteries of Meteora in Greece, which were built as a defensive measure against invaders. It is certainly true that the occupier or occupiers of Katskhi pillar would have been well protected against the many invaders that swept across Georgia in its rich history, but such a small area would not have been big enough to store provisions against a long siege. The Katskhi pillar complex consist of a small rectangular church hall measuring 4.5 × 3.5 m built over a small burial crypt, a wine cellar and a three cell hermitage. The church is dedicated to Maximus the Confessor and at the base of the pillar a new church dedicated to Simeon Stylites has been built near an old belfry. The wine cellar had 8 stone k’vevri vessels built into its floor to store the wine. In medieval times would the wine not have been as strong as nowadays and alcoholic beverages were a good way to store water safely avoiding contamination from dangerous microbes. Georgian bas relief sculptures at the base of the Katskhi pillar indicate that the pillar was seen symbolically as a representation of the True Cross. There is some suggestion from 8th century reports by visitors to the pillar that a chain ran from the pillar top 1.5 KM to the dome of Katskhi church but this may just one of the many legends that abound about the Pillar. Between 2005 and 2009, the monastery building on the top of the pillar were restored with the support of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia. The pillar church was the made accessible to male visitors by a precipitous iron ladder running up the rock face which recently has been deemed too dangerous for public ascent. Download pictures & images of Katskhi pillar Georgian Orthodox church or buy as photo art prints.
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