Chimaera – Turkey’s Flaming Mountain
In southwestern Turkey, near the town of Çırali, there lies a rocky mountain known as Chimaera, named after the fire-breathing mythical beast with heads of a lion and goat, the body of a lion and a snake for a tail. The reason for such a grand name is that, according to legend, the Chimaera breathed fire onto the mountain, setting it alight for all eternity.
Of course, the reality of it isn’t so grand. These flames that burn across the side of the mountain draw their energy from the methane and hydrogen gas that spouts through the mountains’ many rocky vents. There are about a dozen or so of them in total and are known locally as Yanartaş. They have been burning for at least 2500 years and the vents represent one of the largest emissions of abiogenic methane to be discovered on land.
The flames are groped over an area of about 5000 square meters and are known to be more lively in the winter months. This change is due to the fact that the flow of gas is modulated by the changes in atmospheric pressure.
In years past, the flames of this mountain were used as a point o navigation for sailors as the flames could easily be seen from out at sea.
Nowadays, their uses are not quite as practical, the curious case of this flaming mountain draws in quite the number of tourists who often use them to brew a cup of tea or such. It’s something you could potentially try as well when you check this unique landmark out for yourself. Another popular activity you can try is to buy marshmallows from Çırali and roast them over the fires in the evening.
Seeing a mountain with eternally burning flames, actually, seeing anything with eternal flames is a pretty unique experience. It’s definitely something you should see in person when you take a trip to Turkey.