Yanardag. The Burning Mountain

Tours in Azerbaijan

Yanardag stands apart from the main part of the ridge that runs along the Absheron Peninsula. If you imagine the mountains of the North Caucasus in the guise of warriors lined up from the Black Sea to the Caspian, then YANARDAG (Azerbaijan. BURNING MOUNTAIN) is the closing, carrying a burning torch. The Great North Caucasian Ridge ends with a mountain, from the foot of which a pure flame bursts out, which is symbolized by God himself.

There were dozens of such burning plots of land on Absheron at one time. In the place of the largest accumulation of these natural fires, a Temple of Fire Worshippers was founded before our era. And the Turks gave Absheron the toponym “Odlar Yurdu” (The Land of Lights). The fact is that under the ground of the peninsula everything is oversaturated with hydrocarbons. Oil and gas are in a state of incessant chemical reactions, they pump up pressure, which asks for outside and breaks out to the surface of the earth through volcanic activity – mud, or in the form of a pure flame.

However, at the dawn of the oil boom in the country, in the middle of the nineteenth century, almost all these lights went out. This happened because the former wastelands turned into fields under development, wells were drilled everywhere, and the underground pressure was relieved. There is only one burning place left, the surroundings of which have not become an oil field – Yanardag Mountain.

There is a gas sinus under the mountain. Below it is the oil sinus, from which oil vapors constantly seep into the gas. This filling creates high pressure in the gas sinus, and methane gas is pushed to the surface of the earth through cracks in the rocky ground. The rocks periodically shift due to the seismically active feature of Absheron. Once upon a time, the impact of rock on rock closer to the surface struck a spark and a flame ignited. And it has not been extinguished for four thousand years, according to historians and ethnographers.

Once they wanted to extinguish it. In 1943, a Nazi reconnaissance aircraft was spotted in the sky over Absheron. Then it was decided to extinguish the Burning Mountain in order to deprive a potential raider of a visual landmark. The flame was filled with water – the flame did not go out, the flame was covered with a tarpaulin to block the access of oxygen – the tarpaulin burned, covered with sand – the flame broke through it. The only way to put it out is to drill a well to bring down the gas pressure, but they did not do this, since enemy planes did not fly towards Azerbaijan anymore.

Yanardag is known not only for its fire. A kilometer from the flame, a mud crater erupts on the surface. And near it is the cave “Wolf’s lair”, where traces of the life of primitive people were found. And there is also a belief that the ghosts of a pair of wolves live in this cave, which are sometimes seen by locals at night. They appear when the country is in danger, and it is believed that these ghost wolves are the spiritual guardians of Absheron and the Burning Mountain. It is because of them that they did not search for and extract oil around it, and it continues to burn with an unquenchable flame.

Tour operator Azerbaijan Travel International introduces guests of Azerbaijan to Yanardag Mountain as part of the Gobustan and Absheron tour.

You may wish to visit our travel vlog on YouTube channel

Tags: Absheron Peninsula , Yanardag , Oil and Gas , North Caucasus , Burning mountain , Fire Worshippers , The land of lights

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