Yurt – the symbol of Kyrgyzstan

Where did the word “yurt” come from?

«Yurt» is the cradle of nomadic life. This method of housing has deep roots. The name of dwelling “yurt” came to the Russian language from the Turkic «jurt». Previously, this name translated as “people”, later they began to call the dwellings of the nomadic people, pastures and even ancestral lands. In the Kyrgyz speech, there is a word “ata-zhurt” – fatherland or homeland, but literally, this expression translated as “father’s house”. Most researchers date the invention of the yurt to the middle of the first millennium AD. NS. Since that time, the yurt has spread among nomads from East Asia to Eastern Europe and supplanted other types of mobile dwellings. The oldest images of a yurt preserved on a Japanese lacquer cup from the city of Nara (mid-8th century). On the lacquer cup, you can see the lattice frame of the yurt, covered with mats from the outside. Most of people who visited Kyrgyzstan are interested in the following question: “Why’s the yurt round?” The researchers declare that the nomadic people who lived in the steppes chose the circular shape because it is the round shape remains stable in strong winds. Kyrgyz yurt was a type of housing that withstood of a storm or a hurricane.

Interesting fact about the «Kyrgyz yurt»

Today, many assume that in ancient times the nomadic people lived in a yurt as one large family. In fact, some members of the average family lived in separate “yurts”. For example, a separate yurt was set up for adult sons, who brought brides to the house. Also, the first, second and third wives of the nomadic people had their own living space.

Types of yurts in Kyrgyzstan

The Kyrgyz “yurt” is original, although its design has much in common with the construction of yurts of other nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples of Central Asia and Kazakhstan, South Siberia and the Mongols. The arrangement of the yurt among the Turks and Mongols also has differences. Kazakh and Turkmen yurts have double-leaf wooden doors. In Kazakh and Kyrgyz yurts, a felt canopy often used instead of a wooden door, but the Kyrgyz “yurt” is different from all the others. The main difference comes down to the shape of the dome. In the north of Kyrgyzstan (with the exception of the Talas Valley), the shape of the dome of the yurt approaches cone-shaped. In the south of Kyrgyzstan, in the Talas and Chatkal valleys, the dome is flatter and has a hemispherical shape due to the greater curvature of the lower part of the dome poles.

The peculiarity of the Kyrgyz yurt

“Yurt” is divided into several types of premises, a place for cooking, a meeting place for guests or people who have come from far away. In the distant past, one “yurt” could accommodate from two to eight people. The main members of the family set up a separate “yurt” for their married sons. “Yurt” is a mobile architecture, it is convenient because the size of the “yurt” which can be increased at any time, and this is possible because of lattice-folding walls named “kerege“. The peculiarity of the Kyrgyz yurt is that it allows you easily adjust the lighting and ventilation. The smoke comes out through the “tundyuk” – a hole in the center of the dome, without filling the room. It also serves for lighting during the day, and at night it is easily covered (just pull the lasso), which allows you to keep warm. In hot weather, side felts can be lifted up; in this case, the yurt is easily ventilated from either side through the lattice walls (kerege), allowing people to sit in a cool, blown shade.

Taboo and etiquette in the Kyrgyz yurt

There is strict etiquette associated with the yurt. For example, the rider should drive up to the yurt from the backside. For a guest to enter the yurt with a whip in his hand is forbidden, or, for example, with a full mouth. The one who enters the yurt must definitely taste the food in it. You cannot sit in a yurt with your back on anything, because this is the posture of a sick person, and to squat or stretch your legs forward is not recommended.

“Yurt“ is a stylish and comfortable dwelling.

Now the dwelling of nomadic peoples – “yurt” – is becoming an object of increased attention of foreigners. Mobility, environmental friendliness, ease of use and unique design – all these characteristics set the yurt apart from other design solutions and options for portable houses.