Some say hell is other people and others fear they might end up in hell in the afterlife. In Turkmenistan, “hell” can’t get more real. For locals living near the Karakum Desert, the door to hell is very large pit that has been burning for four long decades.
In 1971, Soviet engineers decided to drill a pit in order to find and extract precious oil. Located near Derweze village in Ahal province, the pit is 70 meters in diameter and it turned out to be one of the largest gas (not oil) fields in the world.
When the engineers found out the pit is emitting toxic gas instead of oil they decided to burn it hoping the gas would disappear in a couple of weeks.
They did make a huge fire but never managed to extinguish it. The pit is still spitting fire until this day. The heat of the flames are felt from a 60-meter wide distance and while you may not want to actually be next to it, it makes quite a beautiful scenery.
The first person ever to reach its bottom is George Kourounis who risked it all to gather extremophile organisms. Aside from George, it is said local spiders are very attracted to the Door of Hell and they throw themselves into the pit.
In 2010, the president of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow visited the area and said it must be closed down, but that did not happen yet.