The Fiery “Gates Of Hell!” Monster Spiders! $2-Billion Airport To Nowhere! Welcome To Wacky Turkmenistan – Marble Building Capital Of The World!

darvasa_gas_crater_panorama_crop

Welcome To Turkmenistan’s “Gates Of Hell!”

OK, you all know how much I love to travel – and the world is an amazing place, with new things to discover every day – like the country of Turkmenistan, and their “Gates Of Hell!”

darvaza-turkmenistan-gates-of-hell-jpg

AKA “Door To Hell”!

Amazing natural wonders often go by many names, and that is especially true in Turkmenistan.

As reported in Newser:

“A fiery pit has been burning in the middle of a Turkmenistan desert for more than four decades, and little has been done to get rid of it. The Darvaza gas crater, nicknamed the “Gates of Hell” or the “Door to Hell,” has been on fire since 1971, when scientists were looking for oil fields in the Karakum Desert, then part of the Soviet Union. The spot where they began drilling turned out to be a haven for natural gas—and the site collapsed under the weight of the drilling gear, Smithsonian magazine reports.”

darvaza-gas-crater-turkmenistan

The story goes on to report:

“Several craters were formed, the biggest of which is 230 feet wide and 65 feet deep, and it was full of methane gas that began killing local animals. So scientists decided to burn the gas away, a common practice when unwanted natural gas is sticking around. They thought it would be gone in a few weeks; now, more than 40 years later, it’s still burning, and experts aren’t sure how much gas remains.”

Still, it gives locals the chance to take cool pictures like this:

gas-crater-darvaza-turkmenistan

That’s right, adventure travelers can stay in tents and view the site – the internet is full of pictures of tourist silhouettes around the crater.

The internet is also full of THESE!

fresky-spiders-from-gates-of-hell

Yes, the article points out that there are “huge and largely harmless spiders” that hang out nearby the crater….enjoy!

turkmenistan-tourism

Welcome To Turkmenistan!

So, where exactly IS this place? Well, Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia, bordered by Kazakhstan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north and east, Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, and the Caspian Sea to the west.

Check it out here:

turkmenistan-map

Ashgabat’s New Airport!

The capital of Turkmenistan has just opened a $2.3 billion international airport terminal that looks exactly like a flying falcon!

new-turkmenistan-airport

The terminal is designed to process at least 2,000 passengers every hour and speed up the “full integration of Turkmenistan into the world economic system, according to Central Asia’s Trend news agency.

That is, of course, if anyone ever goes there!

ashgabat_airport_2

According to the report:

“strict visa regulations in Turkmenistan mean relatively small numbers of tourists and businessmen ever visit the isolated, energy-rich Central Asian nation. In 2013, the Guinness World Records recognized Ashgabat as having the greatest density of marble-clad buildings—estimated at more than 540!”

That’s right, Turkmenistan loves marble!

ashgabat-turkmenistan-tourism-marble-buildings

In the city of Ashgabat, where the airport is, the city looks like a marble refinery – marble buildings are everywhere!

turkmenistan-marble-buildings

I’ve never been to Eastern Europe or Central Asia, so there are many travel adventures still to come, but for one legendary Travel Writer, his trips to this part of the world haven’t been quite so “positive”:

cambodia train

Eastern European / Central Asia Travel Adventures!

The iconic Travel Writer Paul Theroux has traveled through this region – and he did it by train!

paul theroux train book

His books are terrific – he travels like a regular person, NOT a pampered Travel Writer, and the result is fascinating…see some of his books here:

https://johnrieber.com/2014/04/13/ghost-trains-safaris-a-legendary-literary-master-travels-the-rails-paul-theroux/

I assume that if I got to Central Asia, I’d have to keep going and land here:

crowded great wall of china

That’s One Crowded Great Wall!

Yes, China is full of people – and I’d love to finally go there…although I missed the chance to see the “lost city of Kowloon”:

Kowloon walled city Hong Kong

What an amazing walled city – home to some of the most dangerous criminals in China…read about it here:

https://johnrieber.com/2016/06/28/chinas-incredible-lost-kowloon-walled-city-a-true-life-crime-oasis/

If I get to China, I also plan to do some hiking on their friendly trails:

china dangerous hiking trial

Yes, this is a hiking trail in China! See more here:

https://johnrieber.com/2015/07/11/worlds-most-dangerous-hiking-trail-cliffhanger-restaurants-chinas-extreme-adventures/

Let me know if you want to come along as I enter the “Gates Of Hell!”

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Categories: Books / Media, China, Exotic Travel, Memoirs, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized

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3 replies

  1. I have travelled across Soviet Central Asia, back in the day, but never got to Turkmenistan. Looking at those spiders, I am glad to have missed it! When I went to the Great Wall, it was nowhere near as crowded as that. I think it depends on the point where your tour company drops you.
    As for that gas. Forty years? It’s a wonder there’s any gas left on Earth!
    Best wishes, Pete.

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