The ‘Land of Fire’ has been burning for 4,000 years

Editor’s Word — Editor’s Word — CNN Journey’s sequence typically carry sponsorship originating from the nations and areas we profile. Nonetheless, CNN retains full editorial management over all of its stories. Read the policy.

(CNN) — “This hearth has burned 4,000 years and by no means stopped,” says Aliyeva Rahila. “Even the rain coming right here, snow, wind — it by no means stops burning.”

Forward, tall flames dance restlessly throughout a 10-meter stretch of hillside, making a scorching day even hotter.

That is Yanar Dag — which means “burning mountainside” — on Azerbaijan‘s Absheron Peninsula, the place Rahila works as a tour information.

A aspect impact of the nation’s plentiful pure gasoline reserves, which generally leak to the floor, Yanar Dag is one in all a number of spontaneously occurring fires to have fascinated and frightened vacationers to Azerbaijan over the millennia.

Venetian explorer Marco Polo wrote of the mysterious phenomena when he handed by means of the nation within the thirteenth century. Different Silk Street retailers introduced information of the flames as they might travel to different lands.

It is why the nation earned the moniker the “land of fireplace.”

Historical faith

Such fires had been as soon as plentiful in Azerbaijan, however as a result of they led to a discount of gasoline strain underground, interfering with industrial gasoline extraction, most have been snuffed out.

Yanar Dag is among the few remaining examples, and maybe probably the most spectacular.

At one time they performed a key position within the historical Zoroastrian faith, which was based in Iran and flourished in Azerbaijan within the first millennium BCE.

For Zoroastrians, hearth is a hyperlink between people and the supernatural world, and a medium by means of which religious perception and knowledge may be gained. It is purifying, life-sustaining and a significant a part of worship.

Right this moment, most guests who arrive on the no-frills Yanar Dag guests’ heart come for the spectacle somewhat than spiritual success.

The expertise is most spectacular at night time, or in winter. When snow falls, the flakes dissolve within the air with out ever touching the bottom, says Rahila.

Regardless of the claimed antiquity of the Yanar Dag flames — some argue that this specific hearth might solely have been ignited within the Fifties — it is a lengthy 30-minute drive north from the middle of Baku simply to see it. The middle gives solely a small cafe and there is not a lot else within the space.

Ateshgah Hearth Temple

For a deeper perception into Azerbaijan’s historical past of fireplace worship, guests ought to head east of Baku to Ateshgah Hearth Temple.

“Since historical occasions, they assume that [their] god is right here,” says our information, as we enter the pentagonal advanced which was constructed within the seventeenth and 18th century by Indian settlers in Baku.

Hearth rituals at this web site date again to the tenth century or earlier. The identify Ateshgah comes from the Persian for “residence of fireplace” and the centerpiece of the advanced is a cupola-topped altar shrine, constructed upon a pure gasoline vent.

A pure, everlasting flame burned right here on the central altar till 1969, however lately the fireplace is fed from Baku’s foremost gasoline provide and is barely lit for guests.

The temple is related to Zoroastrianism however it’s as a Hindu place of worship that its historical past is best documented.

Retailers and ascetics

Constructed like a caravanserai-style vacationers’ inn, the advanced has a walled courtyard surrounded by 24 cells and rooms.

These had been variously utilized by pilgrims, passing retailers (whose donations had been a significant supply of earnings) and resident ascetics, a few of whom submitted themselves to ordeals corresponding to mendacity on caustic quicklime, sporting heavy chains, or conserving an arm in a single place for years on finish.

The temple fell out of use as a spot of worship within the late nineteenth century, at a time when the event of the encompassing oil fields meant that veneration of Mammon was gaining a stronger maintain.

The advanced grew to become a museum in 1975, was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Website in 1998, and right now welcomes round 15,000 guests a 12 months.

Source link


News7h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button