Door To Hell In Turkmenistan
There are some really weird places out there, and one of the craziest is definitely apparent blazing entrance to hell, in Turkmenistan. The 43-year burning hole, better known as Door to Hell, is actually a natural gas crater located near Derweze village, in the middle of the Karakum Desert. Derweze actually means “the gate” in Persian, giving the name Door to Hell even more meaning.
It was discovered in the seventies, by a team of Soviet engineers, who accidentally drilled through the roof of a natural gas chamber, expecting to find large amounts of oil. Soviets then planned to store gas, but soon after the drilling whole chamber collapsed into a 230 feet wide and 66 feet deep crater. Being too deep to protect with a cap, engineers decided to burn off extremely flammable methane gas, to make the area safe, expecting this burn-out period to last only few days. But, surprisingly, this pit is still burning, leaving experts puzzled.
However, this at-first-planned-to-be-oil-field area turned out to be a great tourist attraction. Hundreds of tourists visit this desert-fire site every year. During daylight and from a distance Door to Hell doesn’t seem to justify its name. It looks like a strange hole in a vast desert, but there is nothing of one-of-the-one-hundred-places-to-see-before-you-die about it. Although it can easily be mistaken for a natural phenomenon, metal construction in the structure of the crater implies that it is not. The true beauty of this fire pit becomes apparent at evening, when sun begins to set, and fire begins to illuminate the desert and even the sky above. This man-made/natural miracle has something scary, yet admirable about it, showing both the power and weakness of men.
Although in April, 2010, Turkmenistan leader Berdimuhamedow visited Door to Hell and ordered it to be closed, no measures have been taken so far and Derweze crater is still burnning.
The Karakum Desert, apart from Doors to Hell, is famous by its gas reserves. This desert has one of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world. Turkmenistan’s natural gas exportation rate is planned to exceed 75 million cubic meters in next 20 years.