Several theories exist regarding why Azerbaijan is called the Land of Fire:
1. The country’s name when translated from ancient Persian means “place where holy fire is preserved,” “country of fire”.
2. Petroleum was extracted on the Absheron Peninsula already from the 7th to 6th centuries B.C., and therefore this peninsula is one of the oldest world producing regions. The oil industry on the Absheron Peninsula is even mentioned in writings by ancient and medieval historians. Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (4th century B.C.), in his work “About what happened”, writes that in ancient Azerbaijan “median oil” was used (which in the local language was called “nafta”).
Natural fires have occurred in Azerbaijan as a result of ignition of gas during its extraction from the Earth, and from a distance it looks like the mountain slopes themselves are burning. Fire was always honoured in ancient Azerbaijan, and honouring it was the country’s main religion.
4. In Greek mythology, Prometheus was punished by order of Zeus for stealing fire for people chained to the mountains in the Caucasus.