Crater of Fire Becomes a Popular Tourist Destination in Turkmenistan
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan – Social media has done it again. This time, the Darvaza Crater in Turkmenistan takes center stage as netizens and tourists call it the “Gate to Hell” or “Crater of Fire.” While evil creatures won’t literally pull you down as you sneak a peek at this blazing hole, being near it will certainly give you goosebumps.
The “Crater of Fire” is actually the Darvaza Gas Crater located at the deep recesses of Karakum Desert. It’s the size of a football field, and it has been up in flames for almost 50 years, they say. The fiery tourist spot is attracting more than 50,000 people worldwide for more than a decade now. The only way to spend the night in this place is by camping.
According to reports, a group of Soviet geologists went drilling for natural oil in 1971 in that part of the desert, but they didn’t expect that a crater would form. Their drilling equipment fell in the crater.
They want to offset the dangers of releasing poisonous gases into the air to the neighboring towns that they opted to burn the gas off. They thought the process will only occur for a few weeks, but they are wrong. Up to this day, the fire is burning.
The history of the crater is a little vague. However, in 2013, the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, went to the site and declared it a nature reserve. In 2014, National Geographic Channel included it in their series “Die Trying.” In their July 16, 2014 episode entitled “Crater of Fire,” samples of extremophile microorganisms were extracted from the crater’s bottom. Explorer George Kourounis did that exploration.
Although the crater’s history is vague, everyone can agree that this scorching pit draws more and more people.