Gate of Hell
Hell … lives in Turkmenistan! Or more exactly in Derweze, a small village of just 350 souls in the Karakum Desert. Here, in this practically uninhabited strip of land, one enters to witness the incredible spectacle of the Garagum ýalkymy, better known as the Gate of Hell.
It is a huge incandescent crater, about 20 meters deep and about 70 in diameter.
A truly unique show of its kind, which can be admired up close, strictly camped after a long journey.
The name could refer to myths, legends, mystical beliefs. But, birth has roots that are anything but mysterious, or supernatural. The phenomenon, in fact, originated from the intentional action of some Soviet geologists, who, in search of oil, by mistake, caused the collapse of a natural gas cave.
In an attempt to prevent the gas and methane leaking from the cave from spreading throughout the area, geologists set it on fire.
Since then, it has been burning continuously for nearly 50 years!
Today, seeing the crater up close is undoubtedly a truly fascinating experience. A sort of volcano that instead of aiming high, descends into the bowels, creating a suggestive setting, in the middle of the desolation of the desert!
Photo ©, NMK Photography
HOW TO GET TO THE DOOR OF HELL
The Gate is just over a three-hour drive from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The city boasts a small international airport that offers few connections to the rest of the country and Moscow.
Currently, however, due to the pandemic, the few international flights are diverted to Türkmenabat and getting there is really prohibitive because it takes at least 10 hours by car!
Given the location, many travelers prefer to opt for Organized Tours. And it is certainly the least complicated solution, especially in times of pandemics.
Be careful not to get the location wrong: the crater is located in Darvaza at the coordinates 40.251691, 58.440296!
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Reaching the door of hell is not particularly easy. Follow the coordinates but, if possible, try to reach him in a group. Also pay attention to the road to reach the place because you can easily come across large sandbanks and get stuck for hours.
The whole area is filled with the smell of gas… and it couldn’t be otherwise.
The best way to visit the area is in the evening, when the ghostly atmosphere of twilight invades the place and you can admire the glowing crater. In this case, it is mandatory to camp with your own tent.
It is preferable to visit the Gates of Hell in spring (from April to June), or in autumn (between September and October) thanks to the pleasant temperatures during the day and at night. In the latter case, always wear a jacket for the evening.
Avoid traveling in the middle of summer because of the scorching temperatures, and in the middle of winter, which is really too cold.
Food and water should never be in short supply in your backpack.
Hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.