Yanartaş/Chimera Çıralı’s mythical eternal flames

Yanartaş is a mountaintop natural wonder where ancient myth and scientific phenomena collide. The eternal flames you find there have been burning for thousands of years. In order to explain the dozens of fires that seem to be sourced by methane gas emitting from the rocky ground, legend told of the Chimera, a deadly three-headed beast. In order to destroy this part lion, part goat, and part snake fire-breathing monster, a Lycian king sent Bellophontes on his winged horse, Pegasus. Bellophontes plunged his spear into the Chimera and buried it deep into the mountain, where its fiery breath still burns today.

In ancient times, the bright fires from the ridge lit the way for ancient mariners and served as an important navigational point. Today, Yanartaş is a fascinating stop worth experiencing if you are in the Çıralı area.

A good 3-kilometer hike up with some steep inclines and a rocky trail, Yanartaş is a unique experience for those with kids who can carry their own weight up and down the slope. You could carry smaller children with a carrier if you are accustomed to hiking uphill with kids on your back. If you are not in decent physical shape, we wouldn’t recommend toting young kids. In addition to the difficulty of the hike, the fires blazing out of the ground in so many random places once you get to the top require constant vigilance with little people in tow.

Once you reach the top, you are rewarded by the geological wonder of the flames scattered about, as well as a lovely view  of the Mediterranean. You used to be able to take marshmallows and roast them over the fires, but this is no longer allowed. If you are hiking the Lycian Trail or don’t enter from the bottom park entrance, we have read that it is open 24 hours a day, but when we were there in June of 2021 you definitely had to be out of the park by 9pm (check at the entrance to be sure) if you park and enter from below. Because of the rocky and windy trail, we don’t advise hiking down much after sundown unless you have headlamps or flashlights with you. It can be precarious without any light.

 

Helpful tips: There is a clean bathroom at the entrance, but don’t expect any other amenities other than a spring of water to fill a water bottle. Bring your own water bottles and please be sure to take out any trash you bring in with you. Plan on spending a minimum of 2-3 hours at Yanartaş, with an hour and a half of that hiking time.

 

Getting there:  Yanartaş is found in Çıralı about 55 kilometers south of Antalya. The easiest way to get there is to rent your own car or hire a driver. Head southwest on D-400 and turn south toward Çıralı just past Ulupınar. Follow the signs or use GPS which takes you to the park entrance. Alternatively, you can bus to Kemer from the city center and then taxi to Yanartaş.

 

Location: Ulupınar Mahallesi Çıralı Kemer/Antalya

Entrance Fee: 12TL (as of June 2021- but be sure to inquire at the entrance as fees change regularly)

 

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