Mount Chimaera: The Unquenchable Fire of Olympus

Yanartaş, the unquenchable fire of Olympos, is a natural gas source located north of Çıralı. You may have heard of flames coming out of the ground at several points around the world. Yanartaş is one of them.

Legend of Yanartaş

This natural methane gas leaking out of the ground is recorded as a legend in Greek mythology. In Greek mythology, Hipponus, the son of the King of Ephyra, accidentally kills his brother Belleron during a hunt and takes the name Bellrophontes, which means the eater of Belleros.

This person is exiled from where he lives and takes refuge with the king of Argos. The king of Argos sends him to the king of Lycia. The king of Lycia sends him to fight Chimera, the monster who lives on Mount Olympus and spews flames from his mouth.

Bellerophontes rides his winged horse named Pegassos and goes to Chimera. Bellerophontes defeats Chimera and sends him seven stories deep into the earth. Even there, Chimera does not rest easy. The flames of today are still the flames coming out of Chimera’s mouth.

How does the Yanartaş burn?

The secret of Yanartaş is explained by the leakage of a natural gas deposit underground. The natural gas reaches the surface through the cracks between the rocks with the pressure.

The flames burn not from a single point, but at several different points between various rocks in that area. We even see that the flames of many holes have been extinguished. There are probably periodic situations of gas outflows.

Do not give much credence to those who say that Yanartaş is the only one in the world. As we mentioned, there are such natural phenomena in various parts of the world. The Derweze crater in Turkmenistan, the Land of Fire in Azerbaijan, Baba Gurgur in Iraq, the Ateshgah Temple in Baku are some of the examples we can give.

Olimpos Cirali Yanartas Gezilecek Yerler
Olimpos Cirali Yanartas Nerede Nasil Gidilir

Let’s go back to Yanartaş. Since the fire is burning, there are not a few people who say let’s make the most of it. If you go out, you will definitely come across people making sausage and trying to fry marshmellows.

It’s not so much that they do this, but that they leave their garbage there. On the other hand, we also saw people trying to re-ignite the extinguished flame basins with a lighter. Therefore, I don’t need to say much.

When to go to Yanartas?

Since the main subject is fire, people usually want to go at night and see the fire better. But we don’t think so. There is no lighting on the way out at night. You have to go with your phone lights or flashlights. At night the stones get damp and you can slip.

Olimpos Cirali Yanartas Gorulecek Yerler
Olimpos Cirali Yanartas Giris Ucreti

In our opinion, the best time to climb Yanartaş is just before sunset. It is ideal to be near the flames above before the sun sets. Both the way out is bright, we can see the flames in a beautiful way, and we can easily walk the way back. Especially if you want to see it in the dark, you can easily go before sunset, you will set the sun above.

At the entrance of the Yanartaş rock block, the ancient ruin does not escape our attention. The ruins of the church is an early Byzantine monument dating back to the 6th century AD. Of course, since there is no excavation and arrangement in the area, it is in grass and soil.

Olimpos Cirali Yanartas Kilise Kalintilari
Olimpos Cirali Yanartas Bizans Kilisesi

What are the entrance fee and visiting hours of Yanartas?

After parking the car to go up Yanartaş, the toll booth attendant on the way out asks you for a fee and Müzekart does not pass. Since the demand is high at night, you can go to see Yanartaş at night as well as during the day.

Where is Yanartaş and how to get there?

When you come to the center of Çıralı, you will see Lycian signs showing the distance of 1 km to Yanartaş. But to reach the entrance of Yanartaş, Çıralı Yanartaş Recreation Area, from where the signboard is located, you need to cover 3.3 km either by car or on foot.

There is a large parking area for your car. If you don’t have a car and don’t want to go on foot, there are places that rent bicycles in Çıralı, you can go and come in 2 hours, this can be an alternative for you.

Lycian Way Yanartaş Signboard
Lycian Way Yanartaş Signboard
Lycian Way to Yanartaş
Lycian Way to Yanartaş

Of course, that’s not the area where Yanartaş is. This is just the beginning. After passing the toll booths, you start an 800-meter climb. If we give time, you can climb in 20-30 minutes.

High steps, big tree roots, of course people get tired. It is also difficult to climb with slippers, the roads are bumpy. If you wear a shoe, you will feel comfortable. The next thing you know, when you get to Yanartaş, you have climbed 140 meters up.

Yanartaş trip should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Antalya. Especially if you are coming to Adrasan, Olympos or Cirali and you have never seen Yanartas, you should definitely make time for Yanartas and see it at least once.