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Strange Place: “Door to Hell” in Turkmenistan

A giant hole of fire in Turkmenistan is a strange place

The "Door to Hell"

Yes, it is exactly what it looks like. A gigantic burning hole on the surface of Earth, making our strange place collection.

In the 1950’s Soviets started to dig out a mine in the desert of Turkmenistan. Unfortunately, their project was unsuccessful and they abandoned it.

In 1971, locals of Turkmenistan witnessed a team of geologists digging at the site again, trying to find gas deposits. They eventually stumbled upon a large underground cavern (created by the soviets in the 50’s).

These geologists concluded that the cavern was full of toxic gases, so they decided that they should light the cavern on fire to burn off all of the excess gases.

What they did not realize is that this hole would burn for the next 40 years.

Since then, locals have come up with a lot of names and theories about this hole.

Most famously, locals and visitors call it “The Door to Hell.”

After looking at this picture, you probably can’t think of a better name for it. This cavernous flaming pit rests right outside their town of Darvasa, and it is the size of a football field.

The entrance to the underworld has become Turkmenistan’s main attraction, and an amazingly strange place to visit.

The only problem is that it is very hard to get to. First off, the government does not want people around it. They don’t specify a reason, but I would have to guess that it has to do with safety precautions. The heat is said to be unbearable, and visitors have experienced skin burns and recommend not getting to close.  Secondly, traveling there is very difficult. The roads are supposedly very rough and many cars have gotten stuck while trying to reach this pit.

A giant hole of fire in Turkmenistan

This cavern has been burning for over 40 years

There are similar places like this around the world, but not nearly as big. There are small fires that have been burning for thousands of years, such as the Flames of the Chimaera, near Olympos / Çıralı in Turkey. Both of these craters will burn for a while due to large amounts of gases beneath the Earth’s surface.

People did once believe that this hole was a symbol of the coming apocalypse, but they were immediately shut down when they were told the truth about the soviet era cavern.

There is nothing miraculous or bizarre about this hole, but when something is called “The Door to Hell,” it will get a lot of attention, especially if it has been consistently burning for 40 years.

Being that it looks like an entrance to the underworld, this gigantic hole is easily one of our coolest strange place adds.

If you are interested, but too scared(or lazy) to visit,  you can find the “Door to Hell” on Google Earth.

See more of our STRANGE PLACE collection here!

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12 Responses to Strange Place: “Door to Hell” in Turkmenistan

  1. Pingback: Cratère de Darvaza - La « Porte de l'Enfer » • Alchimie • La Lune Mauve

  2. Pingback: » Strange Place Collection Zazen Life

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  4. Co.D says:

    what a glorious hole

  5. I have seen this before, only your name is much more intersteing that the one I heard (and I can’t remember it, it was so interesting). It is indeed fascinating not just how much gas has been burnt but it seems it will not be stopping anytime soon.

  6. judithatwood says:

    I don’t have a ready quip for this, except to point out that, having seen this result before, why in the world would we try it again?

  7. Betty R. says:

    Interesting to learn this but the thought of going anywhere near that is not very exciting to me. I’m sure that it’s most likely impossible to go anywhere near as the sorroundings must be scorching as well making it very difficult to see any more than you can see in the picture. That first picture is absolutely fascinating.

  8. Freaky, I was just looking at pics of this on Monday.

  9. Cayman Thorn says:

    I thought the Door to Hell looked a lot like Donald Trump in a tanning bed.

  10. It’s interesting to see in photo, but I have no inclination to visit and get potentially roasted. :-/

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