Georgia's Katskhi Pillar houses the world's highest monastery

katshi pillar monastery
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The Katskhi Pillar monastery in Georgia is believed to be closer to gods as it is the highest and, in all likelihood, the most isolated place of worship in the world. It is situated atop the Katskhi pillar, a 130-ft natural limestone monolith.

This landmark is 200 km west of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, but reaching there is an arduous task. Vehicles can take you close to this holy place but the final stretch has to be covered on foot – close to 20-minute hike. There is a smaller abbey and a chapel at the base of the pillar.

The monastery was built between the 6th and 8th centuries. The monks living at the base of the pillar have to climb a flight of iron stairs to reach atop for daily prayers. The monks believe that they will get closer to god by undertaking this daily pilgrimage. And only the local monks can enter the monastery on top of the pillar.

This holy place is not a tourist destination, and outsiders and women are denied entry to the monastery. The small chapel, the Simeon Stylite church, which is replete with decorative art and religious antiques, is open to all for prayer. The chapel's collection of fresco paintings is also incredible. One also gets a panoramic view of Georgia's countryside from the chapel.

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