Coordinates: 40°15′09.48″N 58°26′21.93″E / 40.2526333°N 58.4394250°E / 40.2526333; 58.4394250
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Derweze is located in Turkmenistan
Location in Turkmenistan
Coordinates: 40°15′09.48″N 58°26′21.93″E / 40.2526333°N 58.4394250°E / 40.2526333; 58.4394250
Country Turkmenistan
ProvinceAhal Province
DistrictAk bugdaý District
 (1989 census)
 • Total1,683
Derweze surroundings 2015.

Darvaza (from Persian: دروازه, Turkmen: Derweze) is a rural council (village council) in Ak bugdaý District, Ahal Province, Turkmenistan of about 2 thousand inhabitants, located in the middle of the Karakum Desert, about 260 km north of Ashgabat. The rural council consists of three separate villages: Derweze (formerly Aeroport) (the administrative center), Ataguýy, and Böri.[1]

Darvaza's inhabitants are mostly Turkmen of the Teke tribe, preserving a semi-nomadic lifestyle. In 2004 the village was disbanded following the order of the President of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, because "it was an unpleasant sight for tourists."[citation needed] The village was reestablished, by the renaming of "Aeroport" village to Derweze on 28 April 2016.[2]


The Darvaza area is served by the Ashgabat-Dashoguz Automobile Highway and the Içoguz station on the Trans-Karakum Railway. A landing strip for small cargo aircraft is located at the village of Derweze.[3]

Darvaza gas crater[edit]

Panorama of the crater site, 2011
Turquoise Lake Crater, 2010
Mud Crater, 2010

The Darvaza area is rich in natural gas. While drilling in 1971, Soviet geologists tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas.[4][5] The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of 70 metres (230 ft) at 40°15′10″N 58°26′22″E / 40.25264°N 58.43941°E / 40.25264; 58.43941 (The Gates of Hell). The fire may have originated from a local Soviet decision to avoid poisonous gas discharge, by burning off the gas,[6][7] and while geologists had hoped the fire would consume the fuel in a few days, the gas is still burning fifty years later.

Locals have named the crater the "Door to Hell".[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Districts in Turkmenistan / Ahal welaýaty". Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  2. ^ "TÜRKMENISTANYŇ MEJLISINIŇ KARARY № 391-V" (PDF) (in Turkmen). Parliament of Turkmenistan. 28 April 2016. p. 177.
  3. ^ Landing strip at Aeroport village on OpenStreetMap
  4. ^ Kressmann, Jeremy (2008-03-25). "Turkmenistan's "Door to Hell"". Gadling.com. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  5. ^ "Turkmenistan's "Gate to Hell" is Keeping a Destitute Village Afloat". 8 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Darvaz: The Door to Hell". English Russia. 2008-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  7. ^ "How the Soviets accidentally discovered the 'Gates of Hell'". BBC. 2020-10-23. Retrieved 2020-10-23.
  8. ^ "The Burning Gas Door to Hell in Darvaza, Turkmenistan". Yourenotfromaroundhere.com. 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2014-03-02.

External links[edit]