If you want to know why Azerbaijan is called the Land of Fire, take a trip to Yanar Dag. While many of the nation’s natural gas flames were extinguished due to extensive drilling into the natural gas reserves in the early twentieth century, the fire at Yanar Dag (also called Fire Mountain) still burns, making it one of the country’s most interesting attractions.
According to local legend, a shepherd smoking a cigarette accidentally ignited this natural gas vent in 1958, creating a 33 foot (10-meter) wall of fire licking its way up a small hillside. Enterprising Azerbaijanis have opened a teahouse nearby, where visitors can stare into the flames over a warm drink.
Yanar Dag is best viewed at dawn or dusk, when the natural darkness accentuates the colors of the flames.