This place in Turkmenistan is called by locals “The Door to Hell”. It is situated near the small town of Darvaza (also known as Derweze) which is a village of about 350 inhabitants, located in the middle of the Karakum desert, about 260 km north from Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan.
The story of this place lasts already for 35 years. Once the geologists were drilling for gas. Then suddenly during the drilling they have found an underground cavern, it was so big that all the drilling site with all the equipment and camps got deep deep under the ground. None dared to go down there because the cavern was filled with gas. So they ignited it so that no poisonous gas could come out of the hole, and since then, it’s burning, already for 35 years without any pause. Nobody knows how many tons of excellent gas has been burned for all those years but it just seems to be infinite there.
The best views of the crater is at night when the blazing inferno can be seen from miles. There is a naturally sheltered camping place behind the small hill, just south of the crater.
Getting to the crater is a serious off-road ride and drivers frequently get lost or get stuck in the dunes. There is really no one around to give any directions, except maybe at the kiosk near the railroad tracks. If you intend to walk from the road then follow the light! Remember, it’s a good two hour walk to reach the crater.
All buses headed from Ashgabat to both Konye-Urgench and Dashogus go through Jerbent. There is irregular transport from Jerbent where it’s just a matter of asking the locals around the village for a ride. Let the driver know you want to get off, although you may have to pay the full price. The crater is about four-five hours from Ashgabat and six-eight hours from Konye-Urgench.
The crater is located at 40°15′10″N 58°26′22″E.
In April 2010, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow visited the site and ordered that the hole should be closed, or other measures be taken to limit its influence on the development of other natural gas fields in the area.
Though there’s some online debate about whether this flaming pit is actually located in Uzbekistan, some further investigation confirms it is indeed in Turkmenistan.
All images from EnglishRussia.com