Turkmenistan: The Truth About ‘Gates Of Hell

Turkmenistan is a Central Asian country bordered by the Caspian Sea and dominated by the Karakum Desert. Turkmenistan is known for its archaeological ruins, including those at Nisa and Merv, but it is still a very repressive country.

The Truth About ‘Gates Of Hell

In the summer, expansive KARAKUM desert in Turkmenistan, near the 350-person village of Darvaza, is a 230-foot-wide hole that has been burning for more than 50 years. Locals refer to the Darvaza gas crater as “The Gates of Hell,” despite the fact that it is technically known as the Darvaza gas crater. Its blazing radiance can be seen for miles around.

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Gates of hell view at sunset

Many people wonder how the Gates of Hell crater was formed in 1971, but it was formed when a Soviet drilling rig accidentally punched into a massive underground natural gas cavern, causing the ground to collapse and the entire drilling rig to fall in. Poisonous fumes began leaking at an alarming and uncontrollable rate after a gas pocket was punctured.

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To avert a potential environmental disaster, the Soviets set fire to the hole, expecting it to burn out within a few weeks. The raging pit is still going strong decades later. The Soviet drilling rig is thought to be somewhere down there, on the other side of the “Gates of Hell.”

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People still walk into the desert to see the crater in all its blazing glory, despite its menacing name and ever-present flames.

The origin of the fire still remains a mystery

The country’s government hopes it will become a tourist attraction, and the nearby desert is already a popular spot for wild camping.

The journey from Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat, to the crater takes about three hours.

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