By Nigar Orujova
The breath of winter is now well sensible. Now it is time to get warm. There is a perfect place for tourists who want to discover Azerbaijan's ancient history and get warm in these cold evenings: Yanar Dag.
Yanar Dag or the Burning Mountain is the real representation of the well-known epithet of Azerbaijan - the Land of Fire. This place magically attracts visitors especially in the dark time.
Your destination is situated on the Absheron Peninsula some 25 kilometers northeast of the capital city Baku. It is a 116-meter hill with a continuous natural gas fire eruption, which jets out into the air three meters high from a porous sandstone layer.
A 10-meter wall of fire on Yanar Dag burns notwithstanding weather conditions, in snow and rain, and creates the most spectacular view at night.
The constant Absheron wind makes this place even more mysterious, by creating a bizarre form of fire flames.
Unlike mud volcanoes, which are widespread around Azerbaijan, there is no seepage of mud or liquid at Yanar Dag. It burns simply and gorgeously.
It happens that people around the world cannot stop looking at the flame from the ancient times. The dancing fire fascinates and catches people for centuries, and until know, in the era of high technology, flame attracts people as much as thousands years ago.
The history of Yanar Dag is shrouded in mystery, but a local legend goes that a shepherd once accidentally lit a fire there and the hill has been burning ever since.
For long period, Azerbaijan's population worshiped the fire. The natural fires of Azerbaijan are considered to have played a crucial part in the creation of a mystical faith centered on ceremonial fire cults - Zoroastrianism, which appeared in the region around 2,000 years ago.
Yanar Dag was regarded as a holy place and became a place of pilgrimage for both locals and foreigners, mostly from India and Iran.
Today, Yanar Dag is a historical preserve and is under state protection; archeological studies are being conducted in the area.
Here, you can spend a romantic evening, drinking tea in front of this natural wonder, thinking about the human history, or chatting with your friends.