Yanar Dag literally meaning "burning mountain" is a natural gas fire which blazes continuously on a hillside on the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea near Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
Flames could jet into the air 3 meters (9.8 ft) from a thin, porous sandstone layer.
I had a chance to visit Yanar Dag for the first in August 2019, during a weekend trip to Baku. To get here we ordered a taxi from Bolt and paid about AZN 20 for a roundtrip from our hotel room at Flame towers and back to the old town.
Once on the site, I had to pay 9 AZN / ~ 5USD, but local can enjoy the entrance for just 2 AZN . ~ 1USD (VISA card is accepted here) to enter the territory.
Yanar Dag in Azerbaijan
A good place to take a selfie, right?
Unlike mud volcanoes, the Yanar Dag flame burns fairly steadily, as it involves a steady seep of gas from the subsurface. It is claimed that the Yanar Dag flame was only noted when accidentally lit by a shepherd in the 1950s. There is no seepage of mud or liquid, which distinguishes it from the nearby mud volcanoes of Lökbatan or Gobustan.
Horseback riding near Yanar Dag in Azerbaijan
On the territory of Yanar Dag, State Historical-Cultural and Natural Reserve was established by the Presidential decree dated 2 May 2007 which operates under the control of State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan. After major overhaul between 2017-2019, Yanardag Museum and Yanardag Cromlech Stone Exhibition were launched in the area of the Reserve.
Amphitheater at Yanar Dag
The Yanar Dag fire is never extinguished. Around this open fireplace the atmosphere is filled with the smell of gas. The flames emanate from vents in sandstone formations and rise to a height of 10 metres (33 ft) (different figures are mentioned in other references) at the base of a 10-metre-wide (33 ft) scarp below a hillside. Yanar Dag is described by the Geological Survey of Azerbaijan as "Intensive flames, to 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) high, develop for 15 metres (49 ft) along the base of a 2–4-metre-high (6.6–13.1 ft) and 200-metre-long (660 ft) tectonic scarp."The surface flames result from the steady gas emissions from underlying soils.
The reason offered for the Yanar Dag fires is the result of hydrocarbon gases emanating from below the earth's surface. Apart from Yanar Dag, the most famous site of such a fire is the Fire Temple near Baku, off the Greater Caucasus, which is a religious site known as an ateshgah, meaning temple of fire. It has also been inferred that such fires could be the cause for "thermal metamorphism.