A fire glows on a hillside along the Caspian Sea, leaving scorch marks on the rocks. But unlike a campfire or wildfire, this one won’t burn out. The feature is known as Yanar Dağ and it’s been blazing for at least 65 years. Natural gases seeping through the ground underneath continuously feed the flames. It’s only fitting that the site sits in a country named Azerbaijan, which is known as “The Land of Fire.”
Located in Asia, Azerbaijan is bordered by the Caspian Sea on the east. Swans, flamingos, and pelicans all flock to this region. Much of the north and west are covered by the Caucasus Mountains, where roe deer, brown bears, and lynx thrive.
In parts of Azerbaijan, including just outside the capital city of Baku, the land is dotted with oil and gas reserves. These are areas where oil and gas can be extracted from the earth and used as fuel. Volcanoes have formed above some of the reserves. But instead of spewing lava, the volcanoes erupt with a muddy mix of water, sand, gas, and sometimes oil.
PEOPLE & CULTURE
Azerbaijan is home to around ten million people today. About half of the population lives in bustling urban areas such as Baku.
Some of the country’s inhabitants continue to create traditional crafts. For instance, a group of people called the Talysh make handmade carpets just as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. And traditional music from a stringed instrument called a kobuz is still popular. Like the Yanar Dağ fire, these time-honored customs aren’t going away anytime soon.