Turkmenistan Gates of Hell May Close According to Government Orders

Turkmenistan Tourist Attraction ‘Gates of Hell’ May Close As Per Government Orders

Will the Gates of Hell finally close for good?

The Turkmenistan Gates of Hell, also known as the Darvaza Gas Crater, might be closing after 50 years. Last 3 Jan 2022, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov ordered officials to come up with a plan to extinguish the popular tourist site. Primary reasons for closing the Gates of Hell, one of the country’s greatest wonders, include environmental and economic factors. 

Also read: 10 Bizarre Places In The World To Visit

turkmenistan gates of hell

Image credit: Alex Demin via Canva Pro

How did Gates of Hell come to be?

The infamous Gates of Hell is a natural gas sinkhole that was accidentally formed after a faulty drilling operation in 1971. According to Soviet geologists and engineers, a significant amount of oil could be found within the area. Shortly after the preliminary inspection, the equipment drilled into an underground cavern. As a result, the ground underneath the rig collapsed into a deep sinkhole. Luckily, the operation did not involve any casualties.

Experts feared that the crater would emit dangerous and poisonous gases into the neighbouring communities. With this, they decided to light it up, expecting the gas would burn off quickly. Surprisingly, the crater continues to burn after 50 years since the incident took place. 

Other experts and sources say that the event took place in the 60s and didn’t start burning until the 80s. Nonetheless, the Turkmenistan Gates of Hell remains to be one of the most interesting natural phenomena in the world. It serves as a reminder of Turkmenistan’s significantly large number of natural gas reserves. At present, lists of countries with the biggest natural gas reserves consistently features Turkmenistan.

Why is Turkmenistan Gates of Hell set for closure?

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov appeared on state television and urged authorities to find a solution to put off the fire. The main reason: To protect the health of the people near the area, and to preserve other valuable natural resources. The President has made the declaration multiple times in the past, but the announcement this year might finally push local officials to act on it.

Also read: What to Expect When Travelling to Central Asia: Expectations vs Reality

The Turkmenistan Gates of Hell lies in the middle of the Karakum Desert, and is also located near the Darzava village. Apparently, two other pits lie within the vicinity, the Water Crater and Mud Crater, which tourists have come to appreciate as well. The Gates of Hell may be closing, but its beautiful orange yellow glow underneath the night sky will forever remain in history.

Featured image credit: Dale Johnson via Canva Pro

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Andrea Larice Yap
Andrea Larice Yap

Andrea is a writer and creative individual based in Manila. This tiny human runs on iced coffee, music and films. You’ll probably catch her daydreaming in a park or jotting down random words to to put in a song. Otherwise, expect her taking a dive in the pool of uncertainty called “life.”