If you’re after breathtaking views and sacred spaces then the Katskhi Pillar in Georgia is for you. It won’t be easy to get there … but the journey will be worth it.
The locals call it “The Pillar of Life” and consider this natural limestone monolith as one of the most sacred places on earth.
Perched on top sits a tiny church (along with a burial chamber, wine cellar, curtain wall, and three hermit cells) built in the 9th and 10th centuries.
The rock formation rises 40 metres above the countryside, 200km west of Tbilisi, in the remote Imereti region of Georgia. Only monks may climb to the top, since the 2018 ban on public access.
However, visitors can visit the church of Saint Simeon Stylites at the base of the pillar to pray and light a candle. The local monks do the 20-minute climb up the thin metal ladder to the top for their prayers every day.
The Hard Bit
From Tbilisi, take a three-and-a-half-hour bus ride from the Didube bus station to Chiatura.
Catch a taxi to the pillar, and then prepare for a steep 20-minute climb to reach the base.
Take your time to enjoy the magical Georgian landscape, and keep your head up to see the monolith that will appear suddenly on the horizon.
SAA flies to Munich daily from Johannesburg and Cape Town. From there, catch a short connection flight to Tbilisi with fellow Star Alliance partner Turkish Airlines. South Africans don’t need a visa. Book your tickets today!