A journey to the amazing gate to hell
For and ordinary person who has no archaeological knowledge and experience, the site of the Gates To Hell, Derweze, Turkmenistan is the literal gates to hell. Before I made my journey to this breath taking site I did my research and I confidently knew what to expect. That did not prevent me from being amazed at the site. Forget the pictures and the stories you have heard about this burning crater, a real and onsite experience will amaze you.
I was traveling with other travel enthusiasts who I met at Turkmenistan. We were three girls of almost the same age and none of us had visited the site earlier. We met up early in the morning with our driver Rustam in Ashgabat. Rustam was eager to show off his new found language skills as he had just recently returned from London where he had completed a course in English, and we were eager to listen to his stories which helped to make the long 270km. drive out to the village of Derweze, not seem so long. Rustam had insisted that we have a peak into the gate early in the morning or at sunset if we wanted to get an experience of our lifetime and we agreed. After a long rest following a tiresome journey we work up the following morning and left our resort at Derweze for the climax of our journey. Our van headed straight to the site in a journey that was filled with nothing but anticipation.
As we approached the burning crater we could see a bright red glow just above the horizon. The traffic was becoming heavier and heavier as the temperatures slowly overwhelmed the morning cold to give us the warm welcome we deserved. The site approaching the gate was amazing. It is the most beautiful scene I have ever experienced. A lifeless deserted decorated by a raging orange fireball. The confident sand glows in recognition of the light that hits it at an angle. The color of the sand brightens as you approach the main crater.
At the crate we are welcomed with a group of thrill seeker standing majestically in front of the dominating flames. I got scared at first. The fire was un-wandering and you could tell how hot it actually was at the center of the crater. I then saw the silhouette of a mother and her young daughter gazing at the hot burning ground with confidence. I decided to approach this majestic beauty at least closer than the mother and her daughter to have a clear view of the marvel that pulled me miles away home.
The site was amazing. I realized I could not move closer to glaring flame because of the heat. The fire that had been burning for centuries was way alive. Closer to the center of the crater the fire is more intense. We stood by the fire as I told the young girl standing with her mother about the crater and why it is not hell yet.