Yurt Mongolia – The Traditional Home of Nomads

Immerse yourself in the nomadic lifestyle with the iconic yurt Mongolia. Discover the allure of these portable dwellings and their rich history.

A yurt, also called Ger, is the traditional home of the nomads in Mongolia. These round, portable structures have been an essential part of their lifestyle for thousands of years. In this article, you will learn more about the history, construction, and role of the yurt in Mongolian culture, especially in the context of “Yurt Mongolia.” We will also look at modern adaptations and the care of these unique dwellings in the context of Yurt Mongolia.

The Essentials at a Glance

  • The yurt, as the traditional nomad home of Mongolia, symbolizes a deep connection to nature and has been a central element of nomadic culture for over two and a half thousand years.
  • The construction and structure of a Mongolian yurt consist of a wooden frame, lattice walls, a roof ring, and a felt cover, all of which together form a dwelling suitable for the extreme weather conditions of Central Asia.
  • Modern adaptations and uses of the yurt in areas such as tourism and recreation, as well as material innovations, have expanded its functionality and made it popular worldwide.

Introduction

Mongolian yurt in nature

The yurt, or Ger, as it is called in Mongolia, is more than just a simple shelter – it is a symbol of the heart of the nomadic community. These round, portable structures have evolved over thousands of years and are an essential part of life in Central Asia, especially in Mongolia. The creation and preservation of these yurts tell a story of community, meaning, and the development of a culture closely connected to nature.

This traditional home speaks of a deep connection and understanding of the environment in which the nomads lived and still live.

The History of the Mongolian Yurt

Historical depiction of the Mongolian yurt

The history of the Mongolian yurt is as old as nomadic culture itself. Yurts have been mentioned as an important part of Central Asian life for over two and a half thousand years. These dwellings, whose origins lie with the Scythians, have become a fixed part of life in Mongolia.

Within these portable walls, all family life took place, with the yurt offering much more than just protection from the elements – it was a microcosm where every action and object held a special meaning.

Origins and Evolution

The origins of the yurt date back to the Scythians, a nomadic people who used an early form of the yurt between 600 BC and 300 AD. Over the centuries, the yurt has evolved, adapting to the nomadic lifestyle and nature.

In the 13th century, for example, yurts were equipped with woven rods and white felt, which allowed them to be insulated under the extreme weather conditions of Central Asia. This evolution shows how closely the development of the yurt is linked to the needs and nature connection of the nomads.

Traditional Significance

The traditional significance of the yurt in Mongolian culture is immense. It symbolizes not only the connection to family but also to the faith and cosmology of the Mongolian people. The Ger stands for more than just a physical dwelling – it is an intangible cultural heritage that embodies pride, identity, and cohesion.

The yurt reflects the soul of the nomadic society and is passed down from generation to generation to uphold values and traditions.

Explore Mongolia with one of our self-drive tours

Terelj Park Tour

Explore This Adventure

Gobi Sands

Explore This Adventure

Wild Mongolia

Explore This Adventure

Construction and Structure of a Mongolian Yurt

Construction of a Mongolian yurt

The construction of a Mongolian yurt is a masterpiece of traditional craftsmanship, perfectly adapted to the harsh conditions of Central Asia. The construction consists of the following elements:

  • Wooden frame: forms the basic structure of the yurt
  • Lattice walls: provide stability and support
  • Roof ring: serves as a connection between the lattice walls and the roof
  • Felt cover: insulates the yurt and protects against weather influences

These elements are carefully constructed to withstand extreme weather conditions while creating a cozy and inviting living atmosphere.

Wooden Frame and Lattice Walls

The wooden frame and lattice walls are the cornerstones of any yurt. They are not only light and portable but also quick to assemble and disassemble, which is essential for the nomadic lifestyle.

The expandable round frame made of wood or bamboo gives the yurt its typical shape and serves as a basis for the other components.

Roof Ring and Roof Poles

The roof ring, also known as the crown of the yurt, together with the roof poles, forms the skeleton of the roof. This design not only ensures the characteristic round shape but also the necessary stability.

Through the roof ring, the stove pipe can be guided, allowing smoke to escape and ensuring a safe fire inside.

Felt Cover and Sealing

The felt cover, traditionally made of sheep’s wool, plays a central role in the insulation of the yurt, which functions as a kind of tent. It protects the inhabitants from cold, wind, and heat.

Additional materials such as canvas or animal hides provide extra protection and sealing against the elements, significantly contributing to the yurt’s longevity and comfort.

Interior Design and Lifestyle

Interior design of a Mongolian yurt

Inside the yurt, a world organized around the central hearth unfolds. It serves not only as a source of warmth but also as a social hub. The multifunctional furnishings of a yurt, which serve as both sleeping quarters and storage space, reflect the nomadic lifestyle that requires flexibility and adaptability.

Hearth and Fireplace

The hearth in the middle of the yurt is more than just a cooking place; it is the heart of yurt life and conveys a sense of home. As a source of warmth and a place of gathering, the hearth also has a spiritual significance, acting as a source of spiritual energy and protection.

The fire itself symbolizes the sun and moon and is thus a central element in the beliefs of many nomads.

Furniture and Storage

The furniture in a yurt is designed to be versatile. Dressers serve as storage, while the beds can be used as seating during the day. Take advantage of our discount to furnish your yurt optimally.

A dining table is usually located near the hearth, emphasizing the communal nature of eating in the yurt. The arrangement of furniture on a specific side of the yurt is significant.

Behavioral Rules

Specific behavioral rules apply inside the yurt, reflecting respect for tradition and fellow inhabitants. For example, when entering, one should step over the threshold with the right foot first, and no movement should take place between the main posts.

These rules are expressions of the cultural values and coexistence within the yurt.

Symbolism and Spiritual Significance

The circular shape and central axis of a yurt are deeply rooted in the symbolism and spirituality of the Mongolian people. They represent cosmic connections and reflect the beliefs and worldview that manifest in daily practice and spiritual rituals.

Circular Shape

The circular architecture of the yurt has not only practical reasons but also stands for infinite connections and the eternal cycle of life. It represents the sky and the infinite connection between earth and heaven.

Central Axis and Columns

The central columns in a yurt are more than supporting elements – they symbolize the connection between the earthly and the heavenly. They serve as a foundation for spiritual practices and illustrate the cosmic axis, which in many cultures is seen as a bridge between worlds.

Modern Adaptations and Uses

Over time, yurts have undergone some modern adaptations. New materials and technologies expand their functionality and make them suitable for various modern purposes, from eco-friendly living to tourism.

Tourism and Recreation

Yurts are now an integral part of the tourism and recreation industry. They offer a unique way to experience nature while combining comfort and sustainability in the industry.

Material Innovations

New materials such as metal frames, plastics, and improved insulation have made modern yurts more durable and comfortable. These innovations have made the traditional yurt attractive to a broader audience and expanded its uses.

Care and Maintenance

The care and maintenance of a yurt are crucial for its longevity. With proper care, these dwellings can last several decades, even up to a century. Care includes:

  • regular cleaning
  • adequate ventilation
  • protection of the outer cover from weather influences to ensure the structure and well-being of the inhabitants.

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections are essential to maintain the functionality and insulation of the yurt. This involves checking the felt covers for cracks or holes and examining the wooden structure for moisture damage or mold. These preventive measures are necessary to ensure the yurt’s long lifespan.

Repairs and Renovations

When cracks or damage occur, they can often be repaired using traditional methods, such as special felt needles and wool. The wooden frame can also be renovated by replacing damaged parts, ensuring the yurt’s stability and safety.

Yurts in the Daily Life of Nomads

Yurts are not only a cultural heritage but also a staple of many nomads’ daily lives. About one-third of Mongolians still live in these traditional dwellings, continuing the nomadic lifestyle of their ancestors.

The yurt allows nomads to live in harmony with nature and adapt to changing seasons and grazing grounds.

Transport and Setup

The mobility of the yurt is a crucial factor for the nomadic lifestyle. The easy setup and takedown, which takes between 30 minutes and 3 hours, allow nomads to transport their homes as needed.

In the past, camels and yaks were used to transport the Ger components, while today modern vehicles are also used.

Nomadic Lifestyle

The nomadic lifestyle enabled by the yurt is characterized by flexibility and adaptability. The mobile nature of the dwelling allows for easy relocation and adaptation to changing environmental conditions and livelihoods.

This lifestyle has a deep connection to nature and promotes sustainable ways of living.

Yurts Worldwide

The yurt has its roots in Central Asia, but its popularity has now spread around the globe. In different parts of the world, from Europe to North America, people have discovered the yurt and use it for both traditional and modern purposes.

Yurts in Europe

In Europe, yurts have taken on a special role. They are used not only as accommodation but also for cultural events, workshops, and recreational spaces. European yurts are often specially adapted to withstand higher amounts of precipitation, providing year-round protection.

Yurts in North America

In North America, the popularity of the yurt began to grow in the 1960s when the Yurt People movement started to build and live in modern yurts.

Today, they are mainly found in rural areas and nature parks, where they are appreciated as eco-friendly living and recreational options. The prices for these options are often attractive.

Booking and Experience

Those who want to experience Mongolian culture up close have the opportunity to stay in a traditional yurt. This unique experience offers a deep insight into the life and traditions of the nomadic peoples during a trip.

Ger Camps

Ger Camps are yurt camps specially designed for tourists that offer a comfortable and authentic experience in the Mongolian steppe. They allow travelers to get to know the traditional way of life while enjoying the comfort of modern facilities.

Stay with Nomad Families

A stay with a nomad family offers an even more intense experience. Visitors can witness the daily life of the nomads and become part of their community. This form of tourism not only supports the local economy but also promotes understanding of a sustainable and respectful way of life.

Summary

The Mongolian yurt is a fascinating example of how a simple form of housing can reflect deep cultural, spiritual, and social aspects of a society. From nomadic origins to modern applications, the yurt has proven its relevance and adaptability. It is a symbol of connection to nature and tradition that is still alive today. The yurt stands for a life in harmony and balance – values increasingly appreciated in our fast-paced world.

Share this post

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What does the Mongolian word 'Ger' mean?

    The Mongolian word ‘Ger’ means ‘family’ and is closely associated with the traditional Mongolian home, the yurt. It is an important term for family connectedness.

  • How long does it take to set up and take down a Mongolian yurt?

    The setup and takedown of a Mongolian yurt usually take between 30 minutes and 3 hours, depending on the experience of the person setting it up and the size of the yurt.

  • Can modern yurts be compared to traditional materials?

    Yes, modern yurts can be compared to traditional materials as they use advanced materials but often retain traditional elements.

  • Why are yurts circular?

    The circular shape of the yurts symbolizes the connection between earth and sky and reflects the cosmic beliefs of the Mongolian people.

  • What is the function of the central columns in a yurt?

    The central columns in a yurt represent the cosmic axis and connect the earth with the sky, making them fundamental for spiritual practices.

Contact Us

Which SIXT Offroad Mongolia tour are you interested in?
Where do you want to go?
What kind of accommodation do you want?

Table of Contents

Change Language