Sunday, April 24, 2011

burning in the night

A short and bumpy minibus ride from Olympos lies Yanartaş, a large mysterious hill with perpetual flames that ignite from crevices in the rock. Yanartaş, also known as Mount Chimaera, contains about a dozen or so methane vents— it is claimed by people in Olympos that scientists have no idea why or how these flames continue to burn, and are just as mystified as the ancient inhabitants of the region were. After hiking up massive steps in pitch darkness with a tiny flash light for about 25 minutes, I could barely stand on my jelly legs, and suddenly, my breath was taken away at first sight of an orange glow. Thoughts of how I need to get back into shape quickly vanished as I sat down on the rocks, staring into the flames, which seemed paler and sharper than any fire I have seen.

I read somewhere that the chief god of Olympos was Hephaestus, god of fire, metallurgy and volcanoes. I scrawled a wish onto a small slip of paper and offered it to the flames, watching my words burn and curl.


barbara said...

now that i've got my geography straightened out i'm so needing my lottery numbers to come in, Paris first, then Turkey! Wow, that's it, just Wow!


szaza said...

You must come to Turkey, Barbara!
There's no place like it. We have gorgeous beaches, snow-capped mountains, arid land with bizarre rock formations, forests and cosmopolitan cities. Layers upon layers of history! The variety here is incredible.