A yurt is a circular, portable living structure originally used by ancient nomads in the central Asian steppes. The nomads used these structures to move from one place to another, carrying all their stuff around. Today’s yurts, however, are used for adventure and camping.
These circular portable dwellings date back to almost 3000 years in the steppes of central Asia. The yurt, also referred to as ger in Mongolian, a yurt in Turkish, and yurta in Russian, were popular to Nomads who came from the steppes of central Asia.
A famous Greek historian known as Herodotus wrote the first description of these structures. In his description, he stated a yurt as a round structure that Scythians – a group of nomads living at the central Asian steppes – used to travel with. So it would be safe to say that yurts came from the nomadic people living in Central Asia.
This post will help you understand what a yurt is, including a short history, the modern yurt, and where to get an excellent yurt for your adventures.
What is a Yurt?
You may be wondering what a yurt is and why people are talking about it. Well, It is a cozy living structure that you can use in your adventures with family or for corporate outings.
A yurt is an ancient round living structure widely used by ancient Mongolians and the nomads living at the steppes of central Asia. The design is a portable one which explains why nomadic people love using it.
Yurts are made of a lattice of movable poles, and it is also covered with wool, flex or any other type of fabric.
A Short History of Yurts
Nomads in Central Asia and other typical nomads move a lot. They moved with all their belongings, and this explains why they loved using the yurts. Not only were the yurts easy to set up and pull down, but they were also very light, making them efficient for traveling with baggage.
Because the steppe had no trees to use, the nomads would trade with the people living in the river valley for wood. The felt or non-woven wool that covered their yurts was from the nomad’s animals. They kept sheep, goats, and yak which would provide them with all of the wool, and the nomads would then felt it to use on their yurts.
Throughout history, nomads in Central Asia have been using the Yurts to travel with their belongings. As the Mongols moved, they moved with their Yurt tradition, making it spread to other people. For instance, the yurts were still very common in Turkey around the 1960s and 1970s. To this day, these structures are still common in Hungary.
Construction of a Yurt
With experience in constructing a yurt and suitable materials, one can take only an hour to set it up. Thus, the construction of the traditional central Asian yurt and the modern yurt used for camping and other adventures is consistent.
Primarily any yurt is built on top of a flat platform or flat ground, and a carpet may cover the ground. The outer circular part of the yurt that we often see is made up of a wooden lattice. Traditionally the lattice was made of sections of Khanas. Each khana is made up of collapsible and crisscrossed wooden poles.
The ancient nomads used to bring down the lattice wood, tie it with animal hair or leather, and then transport it on pack animals. Using animal hair or leather enhanced the longevity of the wooden lattice wall.
Now, the roof of the yurt is the most complex part of the entire structure. The center part of the roof is known as the crown, and in the traditional yurt, it is partially open.
The crown holds the pools of the lattice together, and as stated, it is partially open to allow a chimney and air to circulate in the yurt. Interestingly, the traditional crown had two decorative posts, and these decorations were passed down from generation to generation.
The Modern Yurt
The traditional yurt design was an excellent design for most nomads at that time. It was light which made it easy to move around. The circular shape of the yurt also was very helpful considering the winds in the steppe.
The modern yurt, however, is used for adventure, camping, and other recreational reasons. Therefore, this modern yurt has many factors that set a striking difference between the two. The structural design remains the same, but the contemporary structure is much stronger and with more aesthetic and functional features.
A modern yurt may have windows and other modern interior covers instead of felt or wool. The covering can last for a decade or more compared to felt or wool that would only last a short time. Today’s yurts are also stronger in withstanding strong weather conditions like strong winds, rain, and snow.
The modern yurts also do not need to move from one place to another like with the nomads. That is why although many people still use wood to construct a yurt, some people use materials like metal frames, plexiglass domes, and other stronger materials. With such materials, the modern ger can stay in a single location for a long time.
Where to Get Your Yurt
If you think of the yurt as the perfect option for your getaway with your family, you must be ready to source one from the best builders. You must first decide if you want to rent one, or you can also choose to buy one, whether a portable one or one that will be a permanent structure.
Yurts of America are expert Yurt builders who ensure that you get state-of-the-art yurts with a pinch of the traditional Mongolian ger. They can also build a permanent ger for you that can withstand strong weather elements to keep your yurt working for several years. If you choose to have a portable one, then Yurts of America can provide quality materials for your yurt.