Darvaza Gas Crater - Door to Hell
Darvaza Gas Crater - the Man-Made Geological Wonder of the Karakum
Discover the incredible Darvaza Gas Crater, known globally as the 'Door to Hell', 'Gate to Hell', 'Crater of Fire', and 'Darvaza' or 'Derweze' Crater. Take captivating photos and videos of this fiery natural spectacle, nestled within the desolate expanses of the Karakum desert, 266km north of Ashgabat city.
In 1971, the mesmerizing sight of the Darvaza Gas Crater was unintentionally created by Soviet geologists. Situated near the quaint village of Darvaza (Derweze), meaning 'gate' in Turkmen, they accidentally pierced a cavern filled with natural gas. An unfortunate accident led to equipment falling into a newly formed cavernous hole, from which gas began to escape. With concerns about the potential release of poisonous gases, the team decided to ignite the gas. The expectation was the fire would extinguish after consuming the available fuel within a few days, but surprisingly, the fire still burns today.
In 2004, safety concerns prompted Turkmenistan's President, Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov, to relocate the residents of Darvaza village. Despite the unanswered question of how long the gas supplies will last or if the hole will eventually close, this extraordinary natural gas fire has become a compelling Turkmenistan attraction, captivating tourists every year.
Visiting the Darvaza Gas Crater is a unique experience. During the day, the Crater may seem like a simple hole in the ground. As you approach, however, the spectacle becomes apparent - thousands of fire pieces flicker within the 70-meter-wide crater, as escaping gas continues to fuel the flames, intensifying the heat. We recommend evening tours to savor the stunning sunset view, highlighting the vivid flames of the Crater.
Other nearby holes, including one filled with a striking turquoise liquid, are also worth a daytime visit. Please be cautious near these crumbling edges and be prepared for the high temperature and natural gas odor.
Unlike many other global attractions, the Darvaza Gas Crater stands out for its tranquillity and simplicity. This secluded attraction doesn't feature traditional tourist amenities such as parking lots, hotels, or souvenir shops - instead, you'll find a scattering of tents and yurt camps.
The only available dining option is the yurt camp constructed close to the Darvaza crater. For basic necessities, you might attempt to shop at the village of Yerbent, located 90 km south. However, don't rely on good fortune - it's advisable to bring everything you need from Ashgabat before embarking on your journey.
Please note, access to the crater requires an off-road vehicle due to the sandy conditions of the last few hundred meters of the journey.
Make your visit to Turkmenistan unforgettable by witnessing the awe-inspiring man-made wonder of the Darvaza Gas Crater.
Guided Tours to the Darvaza Gas Crater: When to Go and What to Expect
The 'Door to Hell', or the Darvaza Gas Crater, in Turkmenistan's Karakum Desert is a man-made geological marvel with perpetual flames. Visitors can experience its mesmerizing spectacle, particularly at night, and even stay at nearby yurt camps for a unique cultural immersion. This flaming crater offers an unforgettable journey through nature's power and human intervention.
Embarking on a guided tour to the Darvaza Gas Crater is an excellent way to fully appreciate this natural wonder while ensuring safety and convenience. This guide will provide an overview of when to go and what to expect on these tours
When to Go
The Darvaza Gas Crater is accessible year-round, but the best time to visit is during the cooler months, from October to April. During these months, daytime temperatures are more bearable, and the contrast between the cool desert night and the flaming crater is particularly striking.
What to Expect
Guided tours typically start from Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, and take around 3 to 4 hours to reach the crater. Here is a typical tour experience:
• Daytime Exploration
Upon arrival, you can explore the area around the Darvaza Gas Crater. There are several smaller craters nearby, including one filled with a beautiful turquoise liquid. The edges of these craters can be unstable, so be cautious when exploring. During the day, the Darvaza Gas Crater may seem like an ordinary hole in the ground, but as the evening approaches, the real spectacle begins.
• Evening Spectacle
As dusk falls, guides will lead you safely to the crater's edge. You will be captivated as the setting sun gives way to the flaming gas inside the crater, creating a breathtaking view. It is an unforgettable sight, with the sky darkening and the crater's flames growing brighter.
• Overnight Stay
Most tours include an overnight stay in a nearby yurt camp, allowing you to experience the crater under the stars. The sky above the desert is usually clear, providing an excellent opportunity for stargazing. A traditional dinner is typically included, offering a chance to taste local cuisine.
• Return Journey
The following morning, after breakfast, you'll head back to Ashgabat. The return journey offers another chance to enjoy the desert landscape.