Turkmenistan's famous tourist attraction 'Gates of Hell' ordered to be extinguished

Turkmenistan's President has instructed officials to find a way to put out the fire in Darvaza gas crater, which has been burning for five decades

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One of Turkmenistan’s most popular tourist sites has reportedly been ordered to close due to fears it is causing damage to the environment.

Darvasa gas crater, otherwise known as the ‘Gates of Hell’, is a 70m wide and 20m deep hole in the ground which has been burning natural gas for more than 50 years.

Now, Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has ordered the fire pit, located in Karakum desert, to be extinguished, due concerns over its impact on the environment as well as the economy.

Berdymukhamedov said the burning natural gas "negatively affects both the environment and the health of the people living nearby".

Tourist in front of the burning natural gas crater (Shutterstock)

Tourist in front of the burning natural gas crater (Shutterstock)

The burning pit illuminates the ground (Shutterstock)

The burning pit illuminates the ground (Shutterstock)

He continued: “We are losing valuable natural resources for which we could get significant profits and use them for improving the wellbeing of our people.”

The country's leader then requested experts find a solution for extinguishing the fire.

The burning crater was believed to be first formed in 1971 during a Soviet drilling accident, causing the earth to collapse. To stop the hazardous fumes from spreading, scientists ignited the natural gas hoping it would burn off within a few weeks, but the flames have continued to this day.

The fire pit is one of the country’s most iconic tourist attractions, especially during the night. In 2018, the president officially renamed the crater ‘Shining of Karakum.’

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