What Is A Yurt?
Around The Yurt - detailed information about yurts
Fig. 1. Mongolian Ger
(Fig. 1.) is a portable, felt covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure used by nomads and others in the steppes and cities of Central Asia.
The yurt wall frame is made up of several flexible lengths of trellis. Each trellis section is a pattern of crossing wooden laths. These are bound together by a number of encircling bindings that create a cylinder that can vary from 3 meters to 10 metes and is about one and a half metres in height.
The door frame which is set between two wall sectionsl.
The roof wheel or crown, which is between one and three meters in diameter and is morticed radially with slots/holes to receive the roof struts support the wheel’s separate felt cover.
A set of curved struts, each about two and a half meters in length, which span the space between the top of the trellis wall and the rim of the above-mentioned roof wheel (which is customarily suspended some three meters above the level of the floor). 1
Once erwcted the yurt frame is covered with pieces of felt which are strapped in place. In many cases canvas is used to cover the felt and on top of this a cotton sun top may be added. The frame is tied together with one or more ropes, webbing or straps.
The shape of the yurt roof varies regionally - in Mongolia they have, almost exclusively, a conical shape with straight roof poles. Central Asian yurts roofs are normally curved giving more domed shape and use bent roof-poles.
In summary the key factors are that it is portable, felt insulated and uses a wooden trellis frame. It is easily moved and can be dismounted and re-pitched in one day(Fig. 2.)
The Word Yurt
Fig. 2. Pitching yurt, Dayan,
© Anna Portisch 2005
The very word yurt is originally from the Turkic word that means "dwelling place" in the sense of "homeland".
Over time the word yurt has come to be mean a physical tent-like structure in other languages. In Russian the yurt is called "yurta" (юрта).
In Kygyz the word for yurt is boz üý (боз үй), literally "grey house", and in Kazak the term for the structure is kiiz yi (киіз үй), literally meaning "felt home".
In Mongolian it is called a ger (гэр). Afghans call them Kherga or jirga or ooee. In Pakistan it is also known as gher (گھر).
- On the Antiquity of the Yurt, David Stronach University of California, Berkeley http://www.silk-road.com/newsletter/2004vol2num1/yurt.htm
- P.A. Andrews. Nomad Tent Types in the Middle East, Volume I: Framed Tents, text; Volume II: Framed Tents, illustrations. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichart Verlag, 1997.
- E.M.Hatton. The Tent Book. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1979