Turkmenistan’s leader wants ‘Gates of Hell’ fire put out

Turkmenistan-‘Gates-of-Hell-fire-
The crater fire named “Gates of Hell” is seen near Darvaza, Turkmenistan, Saturday, July 11, 2020. The president of Turkmenistan is calling for an end to one of the country’s most notable but infernal sights — the blazing desert natural gas crater widely referred to as the “Gates of Hell.” The crater, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) north of the capital Ashgabat, has been on fire for decades and is a popular sight for the small number of tourists who come to Turkmenistan, which is difficult to enter. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)
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The crater fire named “Gates of Hell” is seen near Darvaza, Turkmenistan, Saturday, July 11, 2020. The president of Turkmenistan is calling for an end to one of the country’s most notable but infernal sights — the blazing desert natural gas crater widely referred to as the “Gates of Hell.” The crater, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) north of the capital Ashgabat, has been on fire for decades and is a popular sight for the small number of tourists who come to Turkmenistan, which is difficult to enter. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The president of Turkmenistan is calling for an end to one of the country’s most notable but infernal sights — the blazing natural gas crater widely referred to as the “Gates of Hell.” 

The desert crater located about 260 kilometers (160 miles) north of the capital, Ashgabat, has burned for decades and is a popular sight for the small number of tourists who come to Turkmenistan, a country which is difficult to enter. 

The Turkmen news site Turkmenportal said a 1971 gas-drilling collapse formed the crater, which is about 60 meters (190 feet) in diameter and 20 meters (70 feet) deep. To prevent the spread of gas, geologists set a fire, expecting the gas to burn off in a few weeks. 

Turkmenistan possesses the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas.
Vector color map of Turkmenistan. Merv (today known as Mary was one of the great cities of the Islamic world , was once the biggest city in the world . It was an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by Russia between 1865 and 1885, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic in 1924. It achieved independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. The country has extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves. The Turkmenistan Government is actively seeking to develop alternative petroleum transportation routes to break Russia’s pipeline monopoly. Turkmen is the primary language; Russian and Uzbek are also spoken.

The spectacular if unwelcome fire that has burned ever since is so renowned that state TV showed President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov speeding around it in an off-road truck in 2019.

But Berdymukhamedov has ordered his government to look for ways to put the fire out because it is causing ecological damage and affecting the health of people living in the area, state newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan reported Saturday.

DIFFICULT TO ENTER

Turkmenistan reported arrival of 14,438 foreign tourists in 2019. Turkmenistan’s international tourism has not grown significantly despite creation of the Awaza tourist zone on the Caspian Sea.

 Every traveler must obtain a visa before entering Turkmenistan . To obtain a tourist visa, citizens of most countries need visa support from a local travel agency.

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