Derweze (Persian: The Gate, also known as Darvaza) is a village in Turkmenistan of about 350 inhabitants, located in the middle of the Karakum Desert, about 260 km north from Ashgabat.
Darvaza 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."
Darvaza gas crater
Panorama of the crater site, 2011
Turquoise Lake Crater, 2010
The Derweze area is rich in natural gas. While drilling in 1971, Soviet geologists tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. 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. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided the best solution was to burn it off. Geologists had hoped the fire would use all the fuel in a matter of days, but the gas is still burning today. Locals have dubbed the Darvaza gas crater the "Door to Hell".
||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Derweze.