a large hole in the ground with a fire in the middle
Derweze Gas Crater known as 'The Door to Hell' in the early morning,Turkmenistan

Tourists go to extreme lengths to get the perfect selfie, but there’s one place where cautious is probably the best approach. Unless, of course, Vladimir Putin is taking a selfie at the same time.

The place we’re talking about is the Darvaza — sometimes Derweze — Gas Crater in Turkmenistan, hardly a number one stop for many tourists, but a place with extreme natural wonder and an even catchier name, known to most as ‘The Gates of Hell’.

On the name alone, many can’t resist a fly in visit to see the remarkable naturally burning hole, which happens to be the worlds largest. Hey, when in Turkmenistan, right?

a large hole in the ground with a fire in the middle
Derweze Gas Crater known as ‘The Door to Hell’ in the early morning,Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan To Close The Gates Of Hell

Will closing the gates of hell open pandoras box? This devilish crater is said to be costing Turkmenistan a fortune and its leader wants it closed, which may be easier said than done.

Natural gas is a precious commodity these days, and a significant amount of it is burning “for free” here as the fire feeds. The country’s despot du-jour doesn’t like that, and wants it closed accordingly, to help keep his country’s gas levels aplenty.

What this means is, if you want to see the gates of hell while still alive, this is your last shot and final warning. Well, some of you may get a second chance later in life. And if you get too into your selfies standing right up at the edge, you might not a second shot may not be needed.

Jokes Aside, The Stans Are Underrated

There’s nothing funny about going to hell, but it’s a great foray into the “Stans” and the travel joy they can bring. Uzbekistan, for one, offers scenery and value rarely found in the world today and is far more accessible than most would expect.

The same could be said for Azerbaijan or Kazakstan.

If you’d like to get to the gates of hell, but not actually go into hell (we hear it’s quite hot, hence the flames) this is a niche tourist activity that’s on borrowed time. Leaders want the hole closed.

That may prove impossible, but the desire to close the gates of hell is there, and that’s bad news for people hoping to catch a glimpse of a true world wonder.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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