Eternal flames are often regarded as symbols of hope and remembrances of significant events in the past. There are instances throughout the world whether man made or otherwise that have been burning for centuries. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most interesting and commonly known instances of eternal flames from around the world.
It is interesting to note that many countries including Australia, India, Italy, Russia, Poland, Portugal, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Moldova, USA, Kazakhstan and the Phillipines all tend to eternal flames in memory of ‘The unknown Soldier’ symbolising humility and bravery by its people.
In Japan, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park which was bombed by uranium filled nuclear device ‘Little Boy’ on the 6th of August 1945 by the United States, an eternal flame will remain lit until all nuclear weapons in the world are abolished.
The Olympic flame is considered to be an extinguishable eternal flame. It is lit before the start of the games while it travels around the world and is only extinguished at their closure every four years. The Olympic flame is said to have been given to mankind by Prometheus who still it from Greek god Zeus.
The eternal flame commemorating both Mahatma Gandhi and John F Kennedy are at Raj Ghat, Delhi and the Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, USA respectively. Both flames were lit after their assassinations and are said to have been among the first known to honour individuals.
‘The door to hell’ is found in Turkmenistan and is fuelled by natural gas deposits. Since it was lit by Soviet petroleum engineers in 1971, the 70m diameter crater has kept on burning for more than four decades much to their dismay. The Soviets were attempting to extract more minerals which were to be found underground and they were hoping that it would burn out within a few weeks.
In the Himalayas region in India, spontaneous flames are said to have been burning for thousands of years. The flame is said to be induced by Jwalamukhi or the deity of the flaming mouth. The flame was well renowned and upon learning about it Emperor Akbar visited it and tried to douse the flames with water however he was unsuccessful. Out of respect, he offered a gold umbrella to the goddess however it turned into an unknown metal which was taken as a sign that it was not accepted.