The Door to Hell – Burning Gas Crater in Darvaza, Turkmenistan

There are several places around the world that locals believe are a door to hell. Endless catacombs beneath the city of Paris, France for example or Dimmuborgir lava formations in Iceland. When it comes to sheer jaw-dropping effect, however, The Door to Hell by Darvaza in Turkmenistan takes the cake. I would also classify Darvaza as one of the places that should be on the must-visit list of every serious explorer who likes to visit Earth’s most breath-taking sites. Darvaza is a gas crater the burning gates of which have been flaming for upwards of 37 years.

The Door to Hell in Turkmenistan, Photo
The Door to Hell in Turkmenistan, Photo

Darvaza Burning Gas Crater

Turkmenistan is very rich in natural resources. Currently a sovereign country, Turkmenistan was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. It was during rule of Soviet Russia, back in 1971 when geologists were conducting gas drilling in Kara-Kum desert and discovered an underground chamber close to the village of Darvaza (known in Turkmen as Derweze, but sometimes also referred to as Darvaz). The discovery of the chamber was accidental and resulted in drilling rig collapsing, leaving giant gas crater filled with poisonous gases exposed to the world outside. The concentration of gases within the crater was high so nobody dared to go down there. It was then when someone came with an idea to light the gas in the crater on fire so as to burn it before the poisonous fumes engulf the nearby town of Darvaza.

The geologists thought the idea of burning the gas was smart and went ahead with lighting the crater on fire. As it turns out, the supply of quality natural gas below the crater is near infinite as the crater’s been burning since. At the time of this post, on June of 2009 the gas crater in Darvaza is still burning and has been since 1971 without interruption. No one can even imagine how much quality natural gas was burnt throughout the 38 years of the crater being on fire. No one can estimate how much more gas there still is. When they first lit the gas crater on fire, they thought the fire would go out after a few days. It’s been more than a few day, it’s been more than a few weeks or months. It’s been decades and the gas crater is burning just as it did the day it was first lit. Putting all economical loses from wasted natural gas aside, imagine the ecological impact this burning gas has cause during decades of non stop burning!

Darvaza Gas Crater at Night with Silhouettes of People
Darvaza Gas Crater at Night with Silhouettes of People

The Door to Hell

The locals from Darvaza have given the burning crater a name that suits it well – The Door to Hell. And everyone who visits Darvaza agrees with the name and finds it appropriate. When you look inside the burning gas crater, you do feel like this is what the door to hell would look like. No one dared to enter the chamber when it was first discovered and no one has dared there since. After all, everyone knows what kind of path a door o hell takes you. And it’s not the path anyone would voluntarily want to embark on. Seeing the door to hell with your own eyes, however is an experience like no other. You will have long stayed in awe after experiencing the viciousness of the fire within the gorge of the burning crater. The Door to Hell would be an amazing vacation experience for the adventurous wonderers. This is a vacation idea that your mainstream tour operators don’t know about. And that’s the beauty of it.

Darvaza The Burning Gates Gas Hole in Turkmenistan
Darvaza The Burning Gates Gas Hole in Turkmenistan

Darvaza Location

Darvaza is located in Turkmenistan but many sources mistakenly mention that it’s located in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is a country next to Turkmenistan and Darvaza is definitely not located there. Which is a good thing as there have been travel warnings for Uzbekistan for a long time, urging all travelers to avoid the country due to high risks of terrorist attacks and/or civil disturbances. But Uzbekistan is not where Darvaza is.

Darvaza and the burning gas crater are located in the central area of Turkmenistan, about 260 km north of Turkmenistan’s capital city Ashgabat. Check out the location of Darvaza on the interactive map below:

Is Turkmenistan Safe to Travel to?

Turkmenistan is located in the Middle East (Central Asia) and is surrounded by countries such as Afghanistan or Iran, which are known for frequent terrorist attacks, war, kidnapping and other crime against tourists. Despite proximities to war zones, the US Bureau of Consular Affairs has no warnings for Turkmenistan at this time, other than a recommendation to exercise normal degree of caution and keep aware of your surroundings at all times. For US Department of State Travel Website with more info and more up to date travel warnings, click HERE.

Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade Office however warns that tourists to Turkmenistan should exercise HIGH degree of caution based on sporadic clashes that occurred in September of 2008 in the outskirts of Ashgabat in the northern district of Khitrovka. For Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade Website with more info on Turkmenistan and more up to date travel warning, click HERE.

Despite its proximity to war zones and a violent clash from a year ago (which country hasn’t had one like that) Turkmenistan seems like a reasonably safe country to travel to at this time. Unless situation changes dramatically, the regions around Darvaza appear safe and friendly. A tourist should however always remain cautious and don’t needlessly attract attention on to themselves. Don’t show off and don’t walk desolate streets alone at night. Just general personal safety advice that should be in place no matter where you’re travelling to.

The Door to Hell Video

Darvaza The Burning Gas Hole Photo Gallery

Darvaza the Burning Gates Image
Darvaza the Burning Gates Image
Pic of the Door to Hell in Darvaza, Turkmenistan
Pic of the Door to Hell in Darvaza, Turkmenistan

Photo Source: English Russia

340 thoughts on “The Door to Hell – Burning Gas Crater in Darvaza, Turkmenistan”

  1. I think its not practical as someone said before, without knowing the how long the fire last long to build some theoretical or practical generators.

  2. Filling the hole? morons, it has been burning in 37years. Arent you awerd of how much mass that would be needed! And making a lock on it would be a catastofe. Dangerouse gass wold be leacking out everywere.

  3. I know I’m over a year late but I’ve read through every blog and “David” is in fact THEE dick of modern society.

  4. its not a big deal i noticed people are say the heat is contributing to global warming an so we should cap it.. thats the worst idea ever the way i see it global worming only been a problem or(accumilating)for like 20 years, when industrials things sped up its been burning for 37 years there for there no relation and besides putting out the fire would be dangerous and worse for the evironment. but i do agree with taking the gas for use

  5. Hello everyone…this is fascinating…I wonder how much this fire has contributed to CO2 over the last 30+ yrs… anyway there was a post by jack not to far back and it’s great…I’m gonna repost it only because it seems logical….a bit off subject but on target…

    There is so much in this world that most are oblivious to. You pawn off on

    America the things that belong to the globalists, the corporatist aka

    fascists. They have been busy little bees here in this last decade. They are

    rooted in deep here in America as well as the European countries like England

    and Germany. Their technicals reach into the crown countries like Canada,

    Australia and New Zealand as well. See their plan is to have one central bank

    by the end of this year with one world currency. So to accomplish this

    Herculean feet they needed to do several things. First and for most they

    needed to bring the American standard of living down so they introduced NAFTA

    and there went our manufacturing base next they needed to over extend us with

    debt so they declared war on Iraq. There is more to that but this is a short

    primer. Then they needed to send the banking system into a tail spin so they

    created the so called housing bubble that killed the economy and wiped out

    many banks, that where gobbled up by a few big ones making the next moves

    easier by consolidating. The banker bail outs where nothing but pay off cash

    for those banks that where deemed safe to bail. Then came the removal as the

    worlds reserve currency and now we are in the debasing part of the plan where

    they bring the worth of the dollar down and bring other currencies up in value

    and once they reach a point that has been deemed acceptable to the bankers

    they introduce the new world currency and exchange program. The Euro was

    introduced as a means to stabilize Europe during this whole process as it is a

    gold based currency it would have more stability. Most of Americas assets are

    being held in Chinese banks until this is all over. Make no mistake about it.

    What we are seeing today, what you are blaming on America, is a new kind of

    warfare that’s never been seen before. It is being wagged secretly against the

    whole world and those wagging it make no claims of any nationality for

    nationality is what they despise along with property ownership, individual

    rights and what has been called the American way of life. So David don’t worry

    as an American citizen your self you will soon get to see first hand what a

    great country you used to live in.

  6. So wait, people are actually bemoaning how this has impacted the LOLbalwarming? I mean this came right after LOL DANGEROUS AND TOXIC CHEMICALS PEOPLE FEARED WOULD SEEP UP AND HURT BYSTANDERS.

    Screw you lolbal warming.

  7. 4 dacades of CO & CO2, Here’s your Global Warming. Slant drill, take the pressure off. Fill the hole!

  8. I think David is a cover-up terrorist douche bag who wears floods and likes anal intercourse who needs to be deported immediately. Hooah!

  9. Dear David

    As a Veteran who has deployed to combat zones and has lost the proper and right use of my right leg and my ability to keep myself firmly in reality due to a severe case of PTSD, from watching according to you, no good racist teabagers’ and stupid Americans who have lost their lives just so you can have the right to insult them, their sacrifice and urinate on the Very freedoms you enjoy. You have stated that the American people are dumb, well this maybe true now let me illuminate to you why I somewhat agree with that statement.

    After the 60s people like you found that they could not change America by being a bunch of pot smoking degenerate communists. What people like you did do was started getting educations and became teachers and politicians, when this happened people like you used those positions to push your un-patriotic leftist BS down our throats. People like you lowered the Education standard effectively dumbing (yes I know that’s not a word) Down the American people.

    Now for some hard science that you might understand, you’re an ass!

    Your first post was unintelligent right from the start, your second post you admitted to not being able to understand David’s reply to you, that was very clear until your 3rd post when it seemed that you decided to take another side just to have an argument. But the truth here is that you are one of those people that would as soon as spit on a soldier for protecting your right to be hateful of your own country.

    It is because of people like you that we are in the mess we are in. it is not about Bush or Obama, it is the Agenda that they push.

    See I am a conservative in all things. I hunt but I hunt responsibly I will take a sick or lame animal out of respect for the other animals in the forests even if I have to use my hunting tag to do so. Now if people like myself did not do this then there would be sickness beyond our control.

    I personally do not believe that global warming is caused by man, but that does not mean that I think we should trash our planet. The Earth has been around for billions of years and for a good majority or the time Earth has been here there has been life. The Earth had in its past super volcanoes that produced more carbon in an hour than we could in 100 years. Think about the middle ages no cars, but there were fires burning in every little corner of a town or village and those places had really bad smog issues because of it one would think that that would have been cause for warming or cooling by today’s standard, but the truth of it is that the Earth goes Through stages and we as mankind do not know enough to say one way or another that we caused it. There are scientific facts that prove this, but I do not expect you to educate yourself after all your just a dumb American.

    I’m not just if for a buck ill fly the plane myself.

  10. Kinda funny to see people arguing with some pseudo intellectual jackass who started trolling years ago. Its obvious he should put his mind to better endeavors.

  11. The Russkies have one hell of a lot to answer for that’s for sure.. If they aren’t nuking Kazakhstanis or entire islands in the arctic circle, or using parts of the pacific as dumping grounds for ageing nuclear subs and ships, they are busy digging through to the earths core in search of diamonds or creating devilish sights like this wasting the earths natural gas resources. What a set of cunts..

  12. Well James, another startlingly ill-informed world view. Have you ever been to TM or KZ, have you met any the ‘Ruskies’ that live in Dervaza or Semeypatalinsk?

    The ‘Russkies’ are NOT the Soviet Union, the USSR ended a long time ago. The Russian people are as good as any others on the planet and have had to endure a lot more hardship than most, part of the reason why they are all double-hard. As you are so righteous about their ‘devilish’ ways I guess you live in Bhutan. If you don’t then have a think about what YOUR country has done before you go condemning an entire population as ‘a set of c*nts’.

  13. heres a shoutout to my friens beside me(: lauren risner, i love you… lauren furr….. YOUR GAY! jk jk. i love you too. and jenny harden(:

  14. Hello we are from New Zealand and this whole blog thing has entertained us for the last hour. hilarious. what a shame dave didn’t return. Best thing we have stumbled on in a long long long time. thanks for the laughs

  15. amazed come after i see photos of the burning crater
    and if everybody calls it gate of hell’i’m thinking of hell as much of this for bible says no comparison about hell….

  16. I just would like to say that I laughed for over an hour reading all of these comments. All these people fighting on a random blog who think they are smart really can turn a bad night into a very entertaining ones. A special thanks to David for giving me this much needed boost to make me realize no matter what, I will always be above others (I think we all know who I mean)

  17. I think its harmful not to close its burning.besides this i m astonished by knowing a mystery like darvaza.

  18. Why don’t they cap it and suffocate the flames, seems a very big waste of natural gas, and toxic to our earth.

  19. Ha ha, take a bow people, that was brilliant- couldn’t t stop reading, now I ve wasted a good chunk of my Sunday
    Thanks again

  20. HAHAHA….. After years I came back and read that David is a Butch!! FML
    I must have done something right.

    1. As for getting into Turkmenistan, they mentioned it’s relatively safe–except for the fact that Turkmenistan is an authoritarian regime. (Google or Bing “Saparmurat Niyazov” for an interesting read)

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