Travel websites describe the burning flames of Chimaera as “fascinating”. They recommend the eternal fire of Lycia is a “must visit” when in the Antalya region. One travel writer even went as far to describe a mystical presence which mesmerized her.
The flames burn from crevices in the rocks of the Cirali Mountains and ancient beliefs credit this location as the source of the myth of the Chimera, a ghastly creature which is composed of the parts of various animals and who breathes hot fire flames in defence.
For hundreds of years, sailors could see the flames from sea and used them as a landmark while tales of their origins were colorful and varied. Even though the scientific explanation for the flames is natural methane gas oozing from the rocks, I bought into the hype and mystery, placing Chimaera on my list of places to go.
Now that I have been there and seen it, I can describe Chimaera to anyone who wants to know but my version will be totally different from the guidebooks.
The burning flames of Chimaera are overrated and the most disappointing place that I visited on my solo tour.
Walking To The Flames of Chimaera
I was told to take a torch as the path leading up to the flames at night time is poorly lit. I should have been told to take a flood light instead! I slowly made my way up the slippery 800 meter stony path that twisted and turned. Sections of the path with no safety barriers ensured my overactive imagination feared that if I accidently walked over the side, the mountain of Chimaera would be my last resting place.
The night time air was hot, damp patches of sweat appeared all over my t-shirt and my hair was sticking fast to my face. A combination of tar filled lungs and thin mountain air ensured that by the time I made it to the top, I seriously thought I was going to throw up all of my inner body parts.
My reaction on seeing the flames was that I had been conned. To be fair, I have since learned that the height and strength of the flames depend on barometric pressure, at the time of visiting. However the long and horrendous walk up to the top of the mountain is just not worth the effort. I could produce the same effect from pumping up flames in my garden BBQ.
If you want to be mystical about it, head up to the flames with some exotic and illegal smoke, then let your imagination go wild. Otherwise don’t be too disappointed if you do not make it to the burning flames of Chimaera.
Readers Question : Have you been to the burning flames of Chimaera? If so, were you as disappointed as I was.