Darvaza – the Natural Wonder of the Karakum. There are many photos and videos on the internet of ‘Door to hell’ (also known as the Gate to Hell, the Crater of Fire, Darvaza Crater), where you can watch fire erupting in the middle of the desert. The view of the flame burning in the desert is bewitching and intriguing. But not many have an idea of how this wonder appeared, located in 266km to the north of Ashgabat city. In 1971 in the Karakum desert, not far from the Darvaza village (also known as Derweze) that is translated from Turkmen as ‘gate’, Soviet geologists started to drill at the site where they tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. During the drilling an accident happened, equipment and transport fell in a big hole. No one was injured, but there was gas coming out of the hole. Fearing that the hole would lead to the release of poisonous gases, the team decided to burn it off. It was hoped that the fire would use all the fuel within a few days, but weeks, months and years passed, and it is still burning today. No one knows how long it will still be burning. Nevertheless, this natural gas fire remains one of the most enigmatic sights of Turkmenistan.