Katskhi Pillar, Georgia.

26The Katskhi Pillar, where a Georgian hermit has lived for the past twenty years to be “closer to god”The Katskhi pillar is a natural limestone monolith located at the village of Katskhi in western Georgian region of Imereti, near the town of Chiatura. It is approximately 40 metreshigh, and overlooks the small river valley of Katskhura, a right affluent of the Q’virila.The rock, with visible church ruins on a top surface measuring c. 150 m2, has been venerated by locals as the Pillar of Life and a symbol of the True Cross, and has become surrounded by legends. It remained unclimbed by researchers and unsurveyed until 1944 and was more systematically studied from 1999 to 2009. These studies determined the ruins were of an early medieval hermitage dating from the 9th or 10th century. A Georgian inscription paleographically dated to the 13th century suggests that the hermitage was still extant at that time. Religious activity associated with the pillar was revived in the 1990s and the monastery building had been restored within the framework of a state-funded program by 2009.

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