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Mongolian Yurt: “EASY” Portable House of Nomads

Mar 30, 2009

[Sources] 1. ctrip.com | 3. izy.cn | 4. ueng8084

On the vast plateau of Mongolian Highland, cold wind from Siberia blows across the Gobi desert and grasslands, while many big white tents are standing in the harsh winter. They are the Mongolian yurts.

Mongolian yurts are a type of portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structures in which the Mongolian nomads (and many other ethnic nomads) live. The advantage of yurt can be summed up as one word: “easy”.

“EASY” to build

Traditional yurts consist of a circular wooden frame, a felt cover tied to the frame by ropes and belts. It doesn’t need any concrete, earth block, or brick — but only wood and fur. It’s kind of  an architecture miracle that Mongolians contribute to the world.

Here is a set of images from wikipedia showing how easy it is to setup a yurt:

“EASY” to move

As shown in the images above, apparently it’s not hard to disassemble the yurt and re-build it somewhere else. This is very important to Mongolians. As nomad tribes on the huge grassland, they are constantly on moving for fresh grass to raise their livestock. It is impossible for them to build a permanent house and abandon it every several weeks.

A yurt can be disassemble in couple of hours and easily carried on camel or cow driven cart. Once they reach a new site, they can rebuild a yurt in less than 20 hours.

“EASY” to live in

The yurts may look small from outside. However, the living space inside is actually pretty plenty. The air circulation and lighting are also very good. It’s cool in the summer and warm in winter, proof from wind and rain.

People decorate the inside, lay thick warm carpet on the floor, put mirror, papercut and pictures on the wall, nowadays, modern house electronics also enter yurts, which make life EASIER.

Modern Mongolian yurt

In recent decades, Mongolians in China gradually start to abandon their unstable life style as nomads. They build permanent residential places and form villages, towns and cities. So they start to use bricks and concrete to build yurts.

Of course, they are not portable.

[Chinese Keywords]
民居 蒙古包

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