The Most Isolated Buildings in the World

(CNN) — Driving through the beautiful, winding country lanes of Georgia’s remote, western Imereti region is an immensely pleasurable travel experience — but not one you’d immediately associate with religious experiences. Until, that is, you pass a hidden lane signposted with a picture of a church.

This is the way to the Katskhi pillar — a natural limestone monolith that towers more than 130 feet, or 40 meters, into the air and on top of which stands what is probably the world’s most isolated, and most sacred, churches.

Situated approximately 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) west of Georgia’s capital city Tbilisi, this remarkable landmark is notoriously difficult to reach. There are no trains in this part of the region, so the only way to get there is by car or bus, but it’s worth the trek.

The final approach is done on foot, a 20-minute hike during which the monolith appears suddenly on the horizon of the vivid Georgian landscape. It’s a magical experience that only intensifies as you draw closer to the pillar itself. A steep climb up some half-finished steps is a sign that visitors are almost there.

At the base of the pillar, a monastery and a small chapel come into view on the right-hand side. To the left stands the 130-foot tall limestone column in all its mesmerizing glory.

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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:

One Response to The Most Isolated Buildings in the World

  1. The Republic of Georgia is the most amazing place I’ve ever been. Most dramatic landscapes, most friendly people, oldest castles, best food, best wine (absolutely: no contest), most beautiful women (possibly non-PC to say that these days, but also true), most picturesque mountain villages, etc., etc.

    Lloyd, if you don’t already know this, also look into and dig the Georgian houses. Georgians typically had large (by USSR standard) detached houses compared to the rest of the USSR, and a summer kitchen shaded in grape leaves was the walls & ceiling – in addition to a lot of other sensible ideas dedicated to The Good Life like amazing gardens, farm and pet animals, etc. These people know how to live!

    ‘Tasting Georgia’ by Carla Capalbo is a recent food & culture cookbook I recommend for a nice introduction to the .. er, more earthly pleasures (food, wine, life!) of that amazing culture.

    I only regret that I was only there a few weeks, 20 years ago, and as part of a Japanese-US-Georgian botanical project I didn’t have much time to explore myself, though we were all over the country and very well cared for by our hosts including more than one fantastic feast!

    I also regret that as a resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I’ve no possibility to obtain Georgian wine, which I imagine is available in the big cities (but a small and worthy sacrifice to live where I do!).

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