Welcome to Atlas Obscura on Slate, your guide to wondrous places around the world.
We will be publishing the most incredible locations, pictures, and stories the Atlas Obscura has found in our ongoing exploration of the world’s hidden wonders. From North Korea’s “International Friendship Exhibition” to the taxidermied stork with an African spear through its neck that proved bird migration, we will take you there.
If exploring miniature cities, bone churches, balancing pagodas, or homes built entirely out of paper sounds intriguing, then Atlas Obscura on Slate is for you. Let’s begin.
The locals know it as the “Gates of Hell,” and its glow can be seen for miles.
In 1971 a Soviet drilling rig rumbled across the hot, expansive Karakum desert of Turkmenistan in search of natural gas. They found a large gas pocket near the 350-person village of Derweze, but as the team drilled into the earth, the rig punctured the cavern and collapsed into it, creating a 328-foot crater leaking deadly natural gas. The Soviets abandoned their rig and lit the hole on fire. It has been burning for 40 years.
More photos of the Gates of Hell can be seen on the Atlas Obscura. The Gates of Hell aren’t the only long-burning spot in the world: Here are a few more.
Places of perpetual fire: