Katskhi Monastery

Katskhi, Georgia

The Katskhi Monastery of Nativity of the Savior was built at the behest of the Baguashi family in the period of 988–1014. The church building is noted for a hexagonal design and rich ornamentation. Closed down by the Soviet government in 1924, the monastery was revived in 1990 and is now operated by the Eparchy of Sachkhere and Chiatura of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

The Katskhi monastery is a octagonal building of more complex design than other similar polygonal Georgian monuments. The exterior of the church features three gradually narrowing cylindrical levels formed by the faceted gallery, the main body of the church, and the drum of the dome.

The six apses are inscribed into the outer polyhedron and surrounded by an ambulatory from all sides. A single spacious interior compartment around the subdome bay includes radially oriented semi-circular apses. One of these, the altar apse, projects outward prominently due to its large bema. The drum of the dome is also faceted. Each facet of the main body of the church as well as that of the dome and gallery terminate in a pediment with three lines of polygonal cornices.

The building was richly ornated, but the decoration of two upper tiers was lost in the process of the 1854 restoration. Of note is a large composition in relief at the southern vestibule of the gallery, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, featuring a cross supported by four angels.

The church is surrounded by a pentagonal wall, which contains a free-standing bell tower in its eastern corner. These structures are later additions, probably from the 17th or 18th century.




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Founded: 988-1014 AD
Category: Religious sites in Georgia

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User Reviews

mcdermc (2 years ago)
The 130 ft high Katskhi Column with a church atop it, is located in the village of Katskhi near Chiatura in Georgia's remote, western Imereti region. Built circa 6th to 8th century, the church was abandoned but then restored & rebuilt in 1995 by a Father Maxim Qavtaradze. He spent most of his time living up there for 20 years until 2015, the last monk to live on top of the pillar.
Trevor Roberts (2 years ago)
Yes very pretty and peaceful, was something that I have wanted to see for many years.
Besarion Chikhladze (2 years ago)
Nice-to-see place. Main attraction is the pillar of Katskhi, which is about 40 meters high. On top of it there is a holy place - a little monastery for monks living there. Unfortunately, climbing up is not allowed anymore. There is also a tiny church next to the pillar.
Jinn (2 years ago)
Masterful piece of work. To think someone lived here for 20 years, and before than (unrecorded) there would've been longer periods of abode. For ultimate shot, get a drone. Lol. Worth making a detour imo, but may not be for everyone.
Raghda Tharwat (2 years ago)
It's interesting t visit and see how a monastery stands on a pillar! Also the idea of one person/monk just living there is intriguing...
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