It seems that tourists will soon no longer be able to look at “the gate of hell” or a crater of fire in the Turkmen desert of Karakum. President Gourbangouly Berdimukhamedov has ordered the minister of oil and gas extraction to investigate whether the crater, which is 70 meters wide and 20 meters deep, can be extinguished. He made it known to the Turkmen state media.
The story goes that the fire crater was created in the 1970s, when the Soviet Union allegedly drilled the area in search of gas. Part of the bottom has collapsed. The hole was reportedly set on fire to prevent the release of toxic gases from the sinkhole. The blaze has not been extinguished for at least decades.
The Fire Crater, which the President nicknamed “The Shining of Karakum” but also known as Darvaza Crater, quickly became a popular tourist attraction. They have to travel more than 260 kilometers through the desert from the capital Ashgabat to see the fire crater.
But if it belongs to President Berdimuchamedov, the fire will be extinguished. He maintains that the flame pollutes the environment and that it is a shame to waste the gas that emerges from it.
The president ordered local authorities to investigate how to put out the blaze. Whether this will actually happen remains to be seen. In 2010, Berdimuchamedov also announced that he would like to have the blaze extinguished, as the crater would hamper industrial development in the area. But the hole is still on fire 12 years later.
See images of the Turkmen fire crater below:
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