An icon of Turkmenistan, the Darvaza gas craters are an arresting sight. Located deep in the Karakum Desert, these excavated craters are a result of gas exploration in the 1970s and whilst two contain only bubbling mud and water, the main crater blazes with an inferno that can be seen for miles around. After dark, this burning pit is often said to resemble the gates of hell.


Journeying deep into the rolling dunes of the Karakum Desert to see the enigmatic Darvaza gas craters is an experience not to be missed when visiting Turkmenistan. One of the craters contains a turquoise liquid, the other thick, bubbling mud. The fire crater was set ablaze to burn off the natural gas discovered during a mining incident, but the flames have never subsided. Entirely undeveloped, the craters lie in an unremarkable area of desert, but as the sun sinks low over the dunes, the flames begin to glow, illuminating the eerie chasm in the desert floor.  


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