Darvaza Gas Crater (Door to Hell)
The Darvaza gas crater, also known as “the Door to Hell”, is a natural gas field located in Derweze, Turkmenistan. It is in the middle of the Karakum Desert.
In 1971, a group of Soviet engineers visited the site with the thought that it was a large oil field site. They set up a drilling rig and a camp for operation. When they found natural gas, the ground where the drilling rig and camp were located collapsed into a crater. To avoid poisonous gases from releasing into nearby towns, the engineers decided to ignite the crater. They estimated that the gases would burn out within a few weeks, but the result was negative and the gases have been burning until now.The crater covers an area of 5,000 square metre. With the scene of dancing fire and boiling mud resembles the way to hell, it is also called by the locals “the Door to Hell”.
While many tourists enjoy visiting the crater and taking pictures, some also go for desert camping on the south side of it. As the crater is in the middle of a desert, however, no major roads are connected to it, nor are there any road signs nearby. You are therefore advised to join a tour group or hire a guide.