Maxime Qavtaradze and the 131-foot Ladder to His Home

“…Maxime Qavtaradze is literally close to the heavens. The 59-year-old monk lives atop a stone pillar in Georgia, scaling a 131-foot ladder in order to leave and enter his lofty home, reports CNN. Photographer Amos Chapple ascended the cliff to photograph his life there.

   The Katskhi Pillar has long been venerated by locals in the area, though it’s been uninhabited since around the 1400s.      When climbers ascended for the first time in centuries in 1944, they found the ruins of a church and the 600-year-old bones of the last stylite who lived there.

  The stylite tradition is believed to have begun in 423 when St. Simeon the Elder climbed a pillar in Syria in order to avoid worldly temptations, but the practice has since fallen out of favor. However, Qavtaradze is a modern devotee.

   Though isolated, he is not a total hermit, coming down once or twice a week to counsel the troubled young men who come to the monastery at the bottom for his help. After all, he was once one of them. Though he now lives at the top of the world, Qavtaradze found his vocation when he was the lowest he’s ever been, doing prison time after he ‘drank, sold drugs, everything’ as a young man.…”

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From Evan Kahn

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

3 Responses to Maxime Qavtaradze and the 131-foot Ladder to His Home

  1. I don't know about "avoiding worldly temptations"
    but I might climb a 131 foot ladder to avoid an overload of a**holes.
    Priorities change over the ages?

  2. well, anonymous above, you have a point…sigh.

    however, just like to say, am glad someone photographed it, as I don't have a head for heights, so won't be doing the tour.

    Love to see the stone work/buildings/etc.. It all is interesting, but each time I look at a photo of a bit of distance, all I can see, is beautiful old historic stone buildings, perched on what seems to me (at this point in time), very dodgy rock formations. Seems like it wouldn't take much, earthquake wise, or sheering of rock face, to tumble it all.

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