Adventure Travel – Turkmenistan's Door to HellDecember 10th, 2010 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on Adventure Travel – Turkmenistan's Door to Hell
Do your family and friends occasionally tell you to “Go to Hell!” and mean it? Now you can now oblige by making your reservations for a quick jaunt to the Middle Eastern nation of Turkmenistan, where some locals will tell you the Door to Hell is located. If adventure travel had a name, this trip would be called Indiana Jones. While we can’t point to any specific travel advisories for Turkmenistan at present, it is surrounded by Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan. Is it safe? Draw your own conclusions but we would be surprised if a few of those silly beheading terrorists didn’t stray across the border every now and then.
But what’s all this promise about the Door to Hell? The town of Darvaza plays host to this visual wonder, which is basically a crater in the middle of the desert that has been burning natural gas for 37 years. Here’s the backstory.
Back in 1971, geologists were conducting exploratory drilling in the Kara-Kum Desert, outside of Darvaza, when they accidentally hit an underground chamber, causing the roof to collapse. Turned out the crater was was filled with so much natural poisonous gas that no one could go down into it. Then someone had the bright idea to light the gas on fire to keep the fumes from engulfing
Darvaza. Geologists concurred, assuming that all the stray methane gas would be consumed in a few days or a week at most. As of 2010, the fire in the crater is still going strong, having probably wasted millions (or billions) of dollars on what appears to be an infinite supply of the stuff.
You can stand on the edge of the crater and gaze down into the black maw dotted with dozens of separate fires, flames teasing, beckoning, daring you to come closer. Stand there too long and you may get a mite nervous, wondering if it truly is the Door to Hell?
Don’t expect your local tour operator to know about adventure travel like this. You’re probably going to have to make your own arrangements but for the motivated jetsetter who loves to control his travel destiny, what could be better than picking that day and hour that you literally visit Hell? All you need to do is figure out how to get to Darvaza, Turkmenistan – the locals can point the way from there.
The Jetsetter Team
Flickr / flydime