Darvaza – gate to underground


Fifty years old shining torch of Karakum Desert in the Central Asia. This is not a story, not a legend, it is real! The fire may have existed to avoid poisonous methane gas discharge, by burning off the gas, and while geologists had hoped the fire would consume the fuel in a few days, the gas is still burning fifty years later. The name of the crater is older than it. Darvaza (Derweze in Turkmen ‘Gate’ in English) district is in the middle of desert area and have one of the biggest gas reserves in the world.

The place is discovered by Soviet geologists while searching for a gas reserve. While drilling in 1971, they tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with 70 meters (230 ft.) diameter and 30 meters (99 ft.) deep.

The early years of the crater's history are uncertain: local geologists say the collapse into a crater happened in the 1960s, and the gases were not set on fire until the 1980s. There are, however, no records available of either the Soviet or Turkmen version of events.

Crater is located 260 kilometers (160 mile) north of capital city Ashgabat. The surrounding area is popular for wild desert camping. However, it is not only crater in the area. Mud Crater and Turquoise Lake Crater also worth seeing. The site is becoming a popular tourist attraction. Especially, at night, the crater looks amazing.

egde of hell
shining torch

A little long drive, beautiful sunset, incredible photo opportunities, traditional houses, delicious meals, and beautiful sunrise are waiting for you in Darvaza. In the dark of the black desert night, it makes yourself feel lucky to be in Manmade wonder. Turkmen traditional meal shashlik is nice choice and it is like you are there for.

Tour to Darvaza is always possible except some conditions in winter makes drive impossible. Spring, summer or fall nice weather conditions to camp and experience unique sunset and sunrise of the Karakum desert. However, it does not matter winter or summer, the burning fire of Darvaza never ends…