The Burning Door to Hell – Darvaza, Turkmenistan

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After a day driving though the desert we reached an area called Darvaza and camped next to all the machinery being used to build a new, and hopefully less pothole-ridden, road between Ashgabat and the border with Uzbekistan.

We set up camp and after sharing drinks with the construction workers were invited to jump in the back of one of the dump trucks to go and investigate the orange glow on the horizon. After a bumpy ride over a couple of sandy hills we rounded a corner and saw what Hell might look like. There was an enormous crater in the ground, the bottom of which was covered in vents of flame which occasionally flared up. The workers told us the crater is known as “The Door to Hell”…

The Door to Hell in Darvaza, Turkmenistan

The Door to Hell in Darvaza

Standing at the edge it’s about 70 metres across, and up to 5m deep, with constantly moving fires burning in various spots.

In the morning we drove out into the desert again, past bubbles of boiling mud and orange flames. This whole area is on top of a natural gas field, which is leaking through to the surface. The locals helpfully run around throwing cigarettes, creating bursts of flames, all of which looks rather stunning.

UPDATE: We later visited Gobustan in Azerbaijan for more burning earth goodness.

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  1. Looking back through the travel archives #My7Links - July 26, 2011

    [...] text is sparse to say the least.– Your most popular postA short post from 2006 about visiting the burning gas crater in Turkmenistan, also known as “The Gate To Hell”, gets far and away the most hits from all over the world [...]

  2. Drilling through the Gates of Hell | Oil Rig 101 - August 1, 2012

    [...] Although I haven’t had the pleasure to see this relatively unknown man-made wonder, I found one person that said they had visited the flaming pit, and they mentioned this…  ‘The whole area is on top of a natural gas field, which is leaking through to the surface. The locals helpfully run around throwing cigarettes, creating bursts of flames, all of which looks rather stunning.’  – Steve [...]

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