The ecclesiastical complex at Martvili is considered one of the most important groups of Christian architecture in Georgia and is believed to date back to the seventh century. One element of this group is a 'stylite' dwelling. However, as mentioned elsewhere on this site, in Georgia 'stylites' lived in tower houses rather than standing on exposed columns as in Syria and these houses were often in the vicinity of monasteries or churches.
Katskhi pillar is the most well-known 'stylite' site in Georgia. In fact rather than being a column, as in Syria, in this case the 'pillar' is a pinnacle of rock that houses a chapel and some monastic cells on its summit. Although originally believed to date back to the sixth century, archaeological exploration suggests that it was inhabited no earlier than the ninth century and it has been pointed out that this manner of monasticism is closer to the monasteries of Meteora in Greece than it is to the Stylites of Syria. However, Katskhi remains fixed in Georgian opinion as the home of an ancient Stylite and there has thus far been little discussion as to the exact relationship between these variant interpretations of the practice of Stylitism.
Martqopi is monastery in the Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia to the north east of Tbilisi. As with several other ancient monasteries, the village named Martqopi is now some kilometres distant from the monastery of that name as the monastery and accompanying settlement have divided over time and the monastery is known as Gvtaeba. The site is named for St. Anton Martqopeli, believed to have been one of the Thirteen (As)Syrian Fathers and who is believed to have brought the Holy Tile of Edessa (the Keramidion) to Georgia. Although the Keramidion is believed to be a miraculous imprint made on a tile by the Mandylion, the miraculous cloth that Christ left an imprint of his face on and therefore a secondary icon after the Mandylion, in Georgia this story has become confused and St. Anton is now often said to have brought the Mandylion itself to Georgia. The saint is often referred to as a 'Stylite' as he repudedly lived alone in a tower above the main monastery for some years. This building is now closed to visitors but is referred to interchageably as a 'koshki' (tower) or 'sveti' (pillar or column). As at Ubisa this dwelling resembles a tower house rather than the Syrian-style column found at Qal'at Seman and Semandağ. There is also a modern tomb at this site reorted to be that of St. Anton, replicating the situation across a number of sites associated with the Thirteen (As)Syrian Fathers where relatively recent shrines have been constructed.
The monastery of St. Simeon Stylites the younger was said to stand on the "miraculous mountain", possibly because it was near Mt. Cassius which was a pagan holy mountain. Even today there is an Alawite shrine further down the mountain from the ruins of the monastery. Simeon the younger was a sixth century imitator of his fifth century namesake, Simeon the elder, and a complex of buildings appears to have sprung up around his pillar even during his lifetime. In his vita there is mention of Georgian followers settling at the site and later on they appear to have run their own monastery-within-a-monastery at the site. The modern name for the ruins translates as "Simeon's mountain."
This church is very well preserved with the portico and a tower still extant. There is some speculation that the tower could once have been the dwelling of a hermit due to the stylite imagery on the portico and because the whole complex was constructed a short distance away from the village.
Qal'at Seman is the site where Simeon Stylites the Elder stood on a pillar for 36 years. The hill is located to the north of Jebel Sheikh Barakat and the monumental complex was constructed on the orders of the Emperor after Simeon died in 459. It was one of the biggest churches in the world at the time it was built.
Ubisa is a complex that developed from the C9th and includes a small church and a "pillar house" to the east of the church. Believed by Georgians to have evolved from the practice of Stylitism that began in C5th Syria, in actual fact this Georgian practice is quite different as a solitary monk would live in a tall house beside a church rather than perpetually stand atop a narrow column.