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Chimera, A Flaming Rock in Turkey

Many large and small fires mysteriously coming out of the ground...

Most of the guide-books try to discourage people from visiting. Who knows — maybe it’s because Olympos is a very popular holiday spot for Turks, and the publishers are trying to keep foreign visitors from overwhelming the place. But if you go there during winter, it’s quite calm and it reveals all its beauty…

Once you have a place to stay – a proper tree house – you can do a lot of things relax yourself, explore the ruins of Olympos and trails into the surrounding mountains, hang out by the campfires in the evenings, trek to see the Chimera, the bizarre rock formation on a nearby mountain where natural gas seeps from the rock and spontaneously combusted.
This place is about 90 km south of Antalya, near the town of Kemer. To get there: you can get to Antalya by bus, as for a minibus to Olympos at the Antalya otogar. They will leave every 30 to 60 minutes, and will take about 90 minutes. Allow adequate time to reach Olympos before dark. The minibus will drop you at a roadside tea-house. Well, really a tea-tent. In winter is just a desert tent, there you can hitch hike someone to take you down into the valley. Don’t try walking from the tea-house! It’s several kilometers down a steep and twisting road.

There are some good climbing routes and boulder problems along the rock face here. You can meet lots of local climbers to join. Or, you can just hang out on the beach. From Olympos if you are ambitious (we were) or if you like walking (we liked) or you don’t know what to do (we didn’t know), you can walk to the Chimera: 1-2 km from the camps to the beach, 0.8 km from the beach to the village of Çırali, 3.5 km from Çıralı to the Chimera and back. The Greek name is the Chimera, the Turkish name is Yanartaş, meaning flaming rock. There is an area of permanent gas vents, emitting a mixture of gases including methane and other gases. Legend has it that the Chimaera was killed by Bellerophon who mounted Pegasus and bombarded the Chimaera with molten lead. From a realistic viewpoint, the most logical reason for the flames is that it is natural gas seeping through cracks in the earth – although scientists are still unable to discover the compounds of the gases.

The mythological reason for the fires is far more interesting than the scientific one. The most interesting thing about these flames is that they are fueled from material that is NOT organic. These are the only flames of this kind. In ancient times it was used as a navigational reference. During the main season you can go on the nightly van trip for just a few Euros. My recommendation: if it has any sense, you will be staying at Olympos for several days. So, walk to see it during the day and take the van to see it at night! We did just during the day, but the almost pyrotechnic effect is most impressive during the hours of darkness. Anyway from the magic of the fires during the day there is the added bonus of spectacular views of the Lycian ruins above. When you first arrive, you see a large white stone area on the hillside. With many large and small fires mysteriously coming out of the ground…

As you might imagine, this has been well known as a freaky place for many centuries.

written by -a-l-b-e-r-t-o-

3 comments

  1. eyecon

    eyecon

    I like # 4 a lot!

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  2. stouf

    stouf

    Cool gallery and text !

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  3. nural

    nural

    Lomographer Was Here! Nural

    over 4 years ago · report as spam

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