Destination Guides Turkey.

Olympos

Olympos of the Greek word/name "Ολυμπος". Olympos is a valley at the south coast of Turkey, 90 km southwest of Antalya city near the Town of Kemer. The city was founded in the Hellenistic period, sharing its name with nearby Mount Olympos (Turkish: Tahtali Daği). Its coins date back to the 2nd century BC. The city became one of the six leading cities of the Lycian federation. In the 1st century BC, Olympos was invaded and settled by Cilician pirates. This ended in 78 BC, when the Roman commander Servilius Isaurieus added the city to the Roman Empire. The emperor Hadrian visited the city after which it took the name of Hadrianopolis for a period, in his honour. Near Olympos, located in the neighbouring village of Cirali and about 200 meters above sea level, the eternal flames called the Chimaera may be seen issuing from the ground. The fuel source for the flames is natural gas, largely methane, seeping through cracks in the earth. The mythical Chimaera - or Chimera - was a savage beast who sprouted fire from its mouth. In the Middle Ages, Venetians, Genoese and Rhodians built two fortresses along the coast, but by the 15th century Olympos had been abandoned. Today the site attracts tourists, not only for the artifacts that can still be found (though fragmentary and widely scattered), but also for its scenic landscapes supporting wild grapevines, flowering oleander, bay trees, figs and pines.

Chimera

Chimera is situated 8kms from Olympos. Scientists are as mystified as the people of ancient times as to how fire spontaneously erupts from holes in the mountain. Chimaera was another Lycian city, and is named after the mythological son of Typhon. Legend has it that the Chimaera was killed by Bellerophon who mounted Pegasus and bombarded the Chimaera with molten lead. From a realistic viewpoint, the most logical reason for the flames is that it is natural gas seeping through cracks in the earth – although scientists are still unable to discover the compounds of the gases. The mythological reason for the fires is far more interesting than the scientific one – let the visitor decide! To truly appreciate the effects of the Chimaera it is best to visit the area in the evening. The almost pyrotechnic effect is most impressive during the hours of darkness. Looking away from the magic of the fires there is the added bonus of spectacular views of the Lycian ruins above.