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.
These images of Qal'at Seman were taken in December 1992
These images of Qal'at Seman, the famous shrine of St. Symeon Stylites the Elder on Jebel Seman are valuable because they are taken midway between the French restoration of the site in the 1930s and the way the site looked in the late 1990s when the majority of the rest of the photographs in this archive were taken. They show the complex to be well maintained, with less visitors (local or foreign) than were customary by the pre war years.
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."
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.