Turkmenistan – Door to Hell

In Turkmenistan’s Karakum desert, a strange blaze comes out from a huge hole. Is that Hell? Maybe, but actually, the “Door to Hell,” as this crater has been called, is the result of an accident made by Soviet engineers in 1971 when the area collapsed into an underground cavern.

The crater sits near Derweze village, which curiously means “door” in Turkmen. Now we know that in the subsoil there is a natural gas field, set on fire to prevent the spread of methane gas, and now has been burning countinuously since its collapse in the 70’s.


The gas crater has a total area of 5,350 m2, the size of an American football field and  the gas reserve found here is one of the largest in the world. It is now a popular tourist attraction, but there are plans to transform it into a resource for gas exportation, instead of using gas in the surrounding area as has been done until now.

Anyway, until the “door” is open, it is a unique spot to visit. Walking there in the dark and glimpsing the lights and flames coming up from the hole gives a strong bump in your heart. To try once, before climbing to Paradise!

Photo Credit: Martha de Jong-Lantink // Tormod Sandtorv

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