Katskhi Pillar among 10 spectacular volcanic plugs and natural monoliths

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 metres (130 ft) high, and overlooks the small river valley of Katskhura, a right affluent of the Q'virila. The rock, with visible church ruins on its top surface of around 150 sq m (1,600 sq ft), has been venerated by locals as the Pillar of Life. It remained unclimbed by researchers and unsurveyed until 1944 and was more systematically studied from 1999 to 2009. These studies revealed the early medieval hermitage, dating from the 9th or 10th century. Religious activity started to revive in 1995, with the arrival of the monk Maxim, a native of Chiatura. Between 2005 and 2009, the monastery building on the top of the pillar was restored with the support of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia. The rock is now accessible through an iron ladder running from its base to the top.

Read more: The World Geography

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