Turkey Olimpos 2001.04.11 - 04.12

Chimaera Flames

Three hours by bus from Kaş is Olimpos, one of the most popular backpacker stops in Turkey. Most backpackers stay many days for tree house pensions, endless parties, and a gorgeous sand beach. We stopped by for one night specifically to see the Chimaera, a cluster of flames that burn eternally on the rocky slope of Mt. Olimpos.

A gas (exact composition is unknown) seeps from cracks in the rock and spontaneously combusts upon contact with air. The resulting cluster of 20 to 30 one to three foot high flames is called the Chimaera. The best time to visit is at night.

There are 2 ways to reach Chimaera from Olimpos: a 7km rugged hiking trail or a nightly mini-bus service offered by most tree house pensions at a reasonable cost. The mini-bus takes about 30 minutes to Chimaera on a windy road.

A cluster of three natural flames kept us warm on the hillside of Mt. Olimpos. A local man sits next to the largest cluster brewing tea to sell to tourists. We think "natural wonder" and he thinks "tourists with money".

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