Eternal flames of Chimera

On the slopes of Çıralı, one of the favorite spots of the Lycian Way is located: Chimera (Yanartaş). With the natural gas coming out of the rocks meeting with oxygen, Chimera is home to the eternal flames that never go out. It is a unique experience to visit there especially at night.

Legend of Chimera

According to Greek mythology and Homer’s narrative, Chimera is a monster that lives on Mount Olympos (today known as Tahtalı). It spreads fire from its mouth and terrorizes Lycian country. According to some descriptions, it has three heads: a lion, a goat, and a snake; and to the others it has the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a snake.

Lion-goat-snake headed Chimera

Bellerophontes, the son of the king of Ephyra (Corinth), is exiled to the country of Lycia after he accidentally killed his brother. The penalty is death, but the Lycian king does not want to have his guest killed publicly, instead he assigns him to fight Chimera, thinking that he cannot survive. Bellerophontes asks the gods for help, and they give him a saddle that can restrain the winged horse Pegasos. Capturing Pegasos in this way, Bellerophontes attacks Chimera with Pegasos.

Bellerophontes riding Pegasos and fighting Chimera

At the end of the war that lasted for days and nights, Bellerophontes stabbed Chimera with his spear and buried it underground. Chimera dies, but its flames will reach the earth from underground forever.

A festival is organized to celebrate the heroism of Bellerophontes. The runners who burn their torches with the flames of Chimera run to Olympos from here. This is the source of the Olympic torch.

The source of Olympic torch


When you go 3 km from Çıralı beach to Ulupınar direction, you will arrive Yanartaş National Park entrance. It is also possible to go and return by joining the tours departing from Olympos at 9:00 PM. Entering the national park, you arrive Yanartaş (Chimera) cliffs after a 1 km climb. It is better to go in the evening to see the flames better. And as a personal recommendation: bring your wine and raise a glass in ancient gods’ honour 🙂

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