Chimaera and Olympos
Immediately west of the Gulf of Antalya, the 700sq.km/270sq.mi Olimpos Beydaglari Milli Parki (National Park) stretches from the coast into the nearby mountains. Ancient Olympos, near the village of Çirali in the southern section of the Park, about 50km/30mi south of the new resort of Kemer, is the site of one of Nature's curiosities, the eternal flame of Chimaera (the fire-breathing monster of Greek mythology), a phenomenon mentioned in A.D. 300 by Bishop Methodius and by Beaufort on his travels in 1811. To reach the spot a strenuous climb of some 150m/500ft must first be made, followed by a further 150m/500ft of ascent above the ruins of Olympos. Natural gas escaping from eighteen or so holes and crevices in the rock has burned here since ancient times. Although barely discernible in daylight the flames are said to be visible far out to sea at night. The gases are still to be properly analyzed but are known to include methane.Olympos was once one of the most celebrated cities of the Lycian League before falling into the hands of pirates. They continued to plague it even after the successful campaign waged against them by the Romans in 78 B.C. In the end the city simply slipped into irreversible decline. During the imperial period Olympos was widely known as a cult site dedicated to the fire god Hephaistos (with a temple to Hephaistos at Chimaera, see above). There are also references in Plutarch to ritual feasts in honor of Mithras, Persian god of light.The remains include those of a Roman theater, a Byzantine basilica, a Roman temple, a bridge, defensive walls and chamber tombs. All are badly ruined and very overgrown; but standing in picturesque surroundings in a valley near the sea they are definitely worth a visit.