The Darvaza gas crater aka Door to Hell or Gates of Hell is a natural gas field located near the village of ‘Derweze about 260 km north of Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. The name Door to Hell was given by the locals.
In 1971, a team of Soviet scientists were exploring oil and gas reserves in the Derweze and set up a drilling platform. The rig collapsed, and fearing the spread of poisonous methane gas, the team set the crater on fire hoping it’d burn out in a few hours.
But it has been almost 50 years and the site is still burning. Now it has become one of the prime tourist attractions in Turkmenistan capturing hundreds of tourists every year.
No one knows exactly how long it will be burning or when the gas supplies will run out. The gas reserve found in this area is one of the largest in the world. Turkmenistan’s natural gas reserves rank 5th in the world, but due to lack of resources, it is being ignored. Turkmenistan has a population of 5.5m and GDP of around $40billion.