Eternal Flames of Chimaera

There are many fascinating places worth visiting in southwestern Turkey, and eternal flames of Chimaera at Mount Olympos (different from Ol...

There are many fascinating places worth visiting in southwestern Turkey, and eternal flames of Chimaera at Mount Olympos (different from Olympus in Greece where the Greek gods believed to have lived) is one of them. Located just a short drive from a laid-back village of Cirali, it features some of the most unusual geological phenomenons on Earth where small fires constantly burn from vents in the rocks.

The name "Chimaera" comes from the ancient Greek myth. The formal name for this place is Yanartaş or "flaming stone" in Turkish. The 1 km / 0.6 m rock stairway takes you to the flames from the park's entrance.
The myth about the origin of the eternal flames was written by Homeros in his Iliad and have been told for centuries before and since then. One of the park's information plates contains this myth which I found quite entertaining. Here it is.
King of Ephyra's son Hippones kills his brother Belleros during a hunting party and takes the name Bellerophontes which means "the one who ate Bellaros". Ephyra Kingdom sends Bellerophontes into exile and he takes refuge behind the King of Argos. King of Argos considers killing someone that took refuge behind him as a lack of self-respect. So he sends Bellerophontes to the Lycian Kingdom.
The King of Lycia doesn't also like the idea of killing this young man because of the miserable situation he is in and he wants him to fight with the monster Chimaera living in the Mountain Olympos whose head is a lion's, body is a goat's, tail is a snake's and who scatters flame from his mouth. Bellerophontes rides his winged horse Pegassos to fight with Chimaera. Chimaera attacks and Pegassos goes up into the sky. While coming down Bellerophontes hits Chimaera with his lance and inters him to the underground. But Chimaera goes on scattering flame.
Eternal flames are the flames coming up from Chimaera's mouth. To celebrate Bellerophontes' victory, people of Olympos arrange a race. The athletes burn their torches with Chimaera's sacred flame and run down to the Olympos city.
According the park's information plate, this was the first Olympic Game in Anatolia (part of the Ancient Greece which occupied a modern-day Turkey), and other different branches of sport have been added since then. Again, according to the park's information plate, the Olympic Torch today is the symbol of the eternal flame of Chimaera's flame. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the current president of Turkey, even claimed that during the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Whether it's true or not, the eternal flames of Chimaera are no less captivating.
The gas which is emitted through the vents in the rocks is mostly an abiogenic methane (the one which is not from fossils). It has nothing to do with volcanic activity though since methane is not related to mantle or magma degassing.
Ruins of Hephaistos in honour of the Greek god of fire, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, and metallurgy, lie next to the fires. This means that the eternal flames were known to ancient Greeks as well.
People mostly come here in the twilight or when it's already dark. That's the best picnic area I've ever seen - you can make pretty much any food here. But most people bring sausages, small kebabs and sweets like marshmallow.
Really impressive!

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