Derweze crater - the Door to Hell

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Posted on Sat, Nov 08 2014 10:52:11

If you have any doubt about the existence of heaven and hell in our everyday  lives, you need to go to the Karakum Desert and see one of the most enigmatic and mysterious wonders of our planet. 

This "wonder of the world" is located in Turkmenistan, in a place called Derweze, which  means "the door or the gate." Derweze is a 20 meters deep and 60 meters wide burning crater. It is located about 90 kilometers 

Just imagine walking in a sandy desert, and suddenly, among the sand dunes you see a giant hole in the ground with the ominous bright flames 10-15 meters of height bursting out of it. The locals call this place "the gates of hell." Indeed, if there is a gate to the underworld, they must be the crater in Derweze. Not far from this place there are two more craters of similar nature, however these do not burn, as their natural gas pressure is too low. One of the craters is filled with a bright turquoise water. 

Derweze flames have been burning for more than forty years – the crater's perpetual fire can be seen from miles away, but it is not a purely natural phenomena – in the 70s, Soviet engineers were drilling there to measure the quantity of gas reserve of the place. The ground beneath the rig collapsed into a wide crater, which released large quantities of methane. In fear that the poisonous gas can cause an environmental problem, the engineers decided to burn it off – they thought it will take a couple of weeks for all the methane to burn out, however the crater continues to burn until now.

Driving up to the "gates of hell" is best before sunset. Of course, you can look at it during the day, but at night the sight is truly breathtaking. It really is an unforgettable sight! 

One could say that the "Gates of Hell" in Derweze  symbolizes the man vs nature conflict : the nature can respond to man's  intervention by the divine and extraordinary beauty, like the Fly geyser in Nevada,  or  it can respond by unleashing hellfire, like the Derweze crater. 

Gallery: Derweze crater - the Door to Hell

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Read more about Turkmenistan off the beaten path
Find more off the beaten path near: Ashgabat Geok-Tepe Koytendag

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