Categories: What You Need To Know

Turkmenistan May Soon Close Its Famed ‘Gates Of Hell’ Crater

After burning up natural gas for nearly 50 years, Turkmenistan may soon close its ‘Gates of Hell’, a crater that looks like a portal to the underworld. By Anushka Goel

No one knows how this fire-burning pit in Turkmenistan, started burning, but it started to happen sometime in the 1970s. Since then, the Gates of Hell, as it’s called, has been burning natural gas constantly, creating a visual spectacle and giving off somewhat an appearance of a portal into the underworld.

Now, Turkmenistan officials are trying to close this 70 metres (229 feet) wide and 20 metres (65 feet) crater, reports Forbes. the pit is located barely 260 kilometres from the country’s capital, Ashgabat.

Gates of Hell: Here’s what we know about the crater

The pit is rumoured to have started burning when the Soviet Union set it on fire, assuming there to be dangerous gas in the sinkhole that would burn off, writes Futurism. That, however, didn’t happen, as the pit continued to burn year upon year, depleting the gas and using up resources.

A popular tourist attraction, especially in the night when the blazing orange looks spectacular against the night sky, the “Shining of Karakum” crater is also known as the Darvaza Crater, after the nearby village of Darvaza, and online as the Door to Hell or Gates of Hell, writes Forbes.

In a televised government meeting this month, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said that the huge quantities of gas being consumed by the crater could instead be put to good use “to ensure the prosperity of [Turkmen] people”, reports Upstream Online.

However, this is not the first time the government is trying to douse the flames. According to a report in Metro, Berdymukhamedov ordered experts to put the flames out back in 2010, but it wouldn’t stop burning. Three years later, he declared the area surrounding the hellish hole a natural reserve, the report adds, turning it into a tourist spot drawing thousands of visitors each year.

Related: Bucket-List Material: The World’s 8 Most Unusual Landscapes

Anushka Goel

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