Discovering Chimera (Yanartas) Turkey, the flames in was a unique experience. The Chimera, are quite phenomenal and the experience is very interesting … on so many levels.
What are the Chimera (Yanartas) Turkey?
We had read about the Chimera only while we were in Antalya to see a total eclipse of the sun, and since in some random way it was keeping our experiences thematic, we decided to venture to see the Chimera, which are where fires burst from the ground due to something to do with the combustion of natural gas seeping from the ground and causing this reaction. It was more about the legends of this place and the fact it was a unique experience, which made us take the trek 80kms from Antalya to the site.
Seeing the Chimaera (Yanartas) Turkey
The organization for this visit in itself is worthy of a mention. We booked with our hotel owners cousin, whose brother in law had a bus but whose second cousin twice removed also was offering to take us as we had walked past his shop that afternoon, and in the interesting land of Turkey .. that meant that we actually owed him first.
After considerable angst and with a lot of trepidation we got into the car with the hotel owner’s relative, only to have the car thumped as we drove up the alley in Kaleci, Antalya. We were headed 80kms to Ciarli, which is the town at the base of where the Chimera is located. We had to put or faith into a second cousin twice removed .. or was it the brother in laws? Blind faith and serendipity is what kept us going.
Experiencing the Chimera (Yanartas) Turkey
We had decided, wisely or not, that the best way to see the fires, and there are a lot of them, was to go at night. So it was at night that we struggled with getting there in the first place amid the family manoeuverings happening around us.
However, we did get there and it was a lot lot harder walk than what we had been told and at night a lot more difficult as the path is far from even and quite steep in places. Lugging up a bottle of wine and wine glasses and the mandatory marshmallows to toast over the fires maybe made this trek a little more difficult. Not taking a torch was also a little silly. However, we had planned a romantic evening up there and it was .. when we regained our breath. Plus, we really needed a drink after all of the carry on in Antalya.
We can say that this did add to the experience, and that it is well worth taking the opportunity to visit and experience the very unique Chimera in Turkey. They are really amazing as you wander around looking into each one and seeing others spring up. It was a bit of a ‘look at this one, see that new one there’ type of experience. I don’t know about you but we love fire and on a cold and crisp and dark evening this place where fires kept sprouting from the ground was totally magical and mystical.
The fire breathing Chimera are bound up in myth and legend. It is said that Bellerophon rode on Pegasus to slay a fire-breathing monster. He became overconfident and Zeus punished him, and Chimera is the warning.
The Turkish call the fires Yanartaş and they have been burning for at least 2500 years. For hundreds of years, sailors could see the flames from sea and used them as a landmark to navigate.
I think that there is plenty of time, and very good reason to see the Chimera and discover the flames in Turkey.