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Ateshgah Fire Temple & Yanar Dag- The Fires within The Land of Fire
Ateshgah (Zoroastrian Fire Temple) & Yanar Dag are two attractions in Azerbaijan that’s not too far off from Baku. You can learn about the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism and witness a natural gas fire on the groundside of a hill that’s been burning nonstop! I went with a 2-part day tour with Gobustan being the first and finished up the day seeing Ateshgah and Yanar Dag, which pretty much sums up the reasons why Azerbaijan is called The Land of Fire.
Ateshgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple
I had lunch in Baku as a part of the tour after coming back from Gobustan, and my next stop was the Ateshgah Fire Temple. It roughly took around 30 minutes from the center of Baku heading east of the Absheron Peninsula. I mentioned in my Gobustan post before that heading towards Gobustan, the country had a completely different vibe compared to the modern city of Baku. It was the same case when I headed towards Ateshgah after passing the Heydar Aliyev Center ten minutes later with older architectures and small street shops surrounding the area.
I then arrived at the Fire Temple museum which the tour included the ticket. The temple is built on top of natural gas, in which fire came from underneath the ground. The temple has a courtyard set up with cells inside where priests and merchants live inside or underwent a pilgrimage.
In the current times, the natural gas runs out due to exploitation during the Soviet Union era, so the only source of gas comes from Baku. I didn’t take pictures, but there were pipes set underneath the ground so fire can still be lit at this very temple.
Normally, there would be fire lit on each of the roof columns. That would be awesome to see!
Historically, merchants from India would pass through the Ateshgah to worship the fires. One way they did so was to “feed the gods” with fruits by dropping them in flames like pictured above.
Overall, it’s pretty interesting to see a piece of Zoroastrian history for the first time. It’s a religion you hear very little in today’s world. At the same time, it’s a bit sad to hear about the gas exploitation that cause natural gas underneath the temple to run out and have to rely on other sources to keep the fire burning.
Next stop is the Yanar Dag or the burning mountain. We head northwest from the Ateshgah that’s still just about outside of Baku. It’s another tourist attraction where you’ll see a continuously burning hillside.
Azerbaijan has put effort in “sprucing up” the place for tourists by even putting a hashtag on top of the hill! An amphitheater has also been built so you can look at Yanar Dag at a comfortable distance.
The fire never stops even when there’s rain or snow! Nothing has stopped it from burning so far. Although, compared to pictures from the Internet, the fire appeared smaller during my visit. It could have been the wind that altered my perception of the fire size.
There’s a red line that you shouldn’t cross for obvious reasons, but you can really feel the heat roughly 2 meters away from the red line. It was a neat thing to see, but I didn’t stick around for too long.
Ateshgah Fire Temple & Yanar Dag are must-see attractions whenever you’re in Azerbaijan. They really emphasize why the country is called the Land of Fire. I personally used this tour to see them stress-free that includes hotel pickup & drop-off and a delicious lunch in Baku! If you kindly book the tour through the link, I would receive compensation and you’d help support this site. Thank you very much!