Darvaza is the most astonishing sightseeing place in Turkmenistan that doesn’t have equivalents anywhere else. You’ll be surprised, but this wonder is man-made, well, kind of.
This giant crater is located in Darvaz, 270 km away from Ashgabat, in northern part of the country. It’s the only tourist attractions for hundreds of kilometers. Anyone who want to admire “Door to Hell” in real life will have to overcome hundreds of kilometers in the desert. Even animals shy away from this crater because of the smell. Diameter of the crater is half a size of football field and as tall as 7-floor building. The name is translated as “door”, that’s why locals call it “Gates of Hell” or “Door to Hell”.
Darvaza gas crater appeared near the village of the same name in 1971. A group of geologists discovered a promising deposit of natural gas. The group started analyzing deposit more thoroughly by excavations and drilling. They stumbled upon a hole in roc formation, which devoured all transportation and equipment of geologists. Natural gas started coming out of this hole. In order to make it non-hazardous for people and animals, geologists decided to lit it up. They assumed that gas will burn completely and stop burning, but they were wrong. The fire has been burning for more than 30 years. Imagine how much natural gas, which is a valuable resource, has been wasted? Scientists are trying to solve this problem with no results.
If you want to see Darvaza gas crater at its best, it’s better to visit it at dusk. It might seem as a mediocre hole in the middle of the desert, at first glance. Only after coming closer you’ll be able to see hundreds of fires in a giant crater. Yes, getting there is a challenge and there is no infrastructure for hundreds of kilometers at all, but the view is one of the most astonishing things in Turkmenistan.