Camping at the Gate of Hell

About this Adventure




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See one of mankinds’ most beautiful and catastrophic mistakes.

The Gate of Hell sounds like a piece of set design from a low budget fantasy film, and in all honesty until you see it for real it difficult to gauge the scale and magnitude of this unusual feature, the result of a manmade disaster.

In 1971 Derweze was an unremarkable village sitting in a desert rich in natural gas. However, when that year the state energy company began drilling for the gas they accidentally bored into a huge underground cavern, full of gas, and a bizarre series of events were put into motion culminating in the Gate of Hell being created.

When the cavern collapsed creating a huge crater 75 metres wide, the company, aware the gas escaping was poisonous, made the decision to flare the gas away. Scientists expected the gas to burn off in six days, 41 years later it is still burning. The spectacle is astonishing. At the bottom of the huge crater is a large flame, while hundreds of smaller flames lick at the rocky opening of the crater.

Infrastructure around the crater is, like in all of Turkmenistan, almost non-existent. There are no hotels, so the only way to stay at this site is either by taking your own tent, or by staying with the local, semi-nomadic Teke tribe in their yurts.

If you want to see this hellish sight, you will have to move fast, the Turkmen government is considering closing off the cavern so it will not interfere with further gas drillings in the area.

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