Yurt

Nomadic civilization during its existence about several thousand years created universal dwelling, which completely reflected the world outlook and the way of life of nomads. Yurt is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt. The turkic word «jurt" means nation, the homeland, and also the place of the nomad camp, their ancestral lands.

The earliest records about the yurt were featured in Chinese sources. In the Chinese records of the II century. BC. "Huainanzi" defined the yurt as "Dome cabin". The oldest image of the yurt was preserved on funerary statuettes in the 6th century from northern China, and on rock carvings in the Eastern Kazakhstan gorges.

There are two types of yurts - the Turkic and the Mongolian; they have different shapes of the dome.  The Turkic yurt used a steam-bent wooden framing for the dome construction. Thus, there is no need to install a support beam inside the yurt. But In the Mongolian yurt, the dome consists of support beam. 

The Turkic type of yurt was common was spread among the Turkic people of Central Asia and Siberia, who led a nomadic and semi-nomadic way of life, and the Mongolian type among the nomads of Mongolia, Tuva, Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tibet.

The yurt has been adapted to the conditions of nomadic life for three thousand years, that's why it is considered to be a reliable dwelling. The competitive advantages of the yurt are universality and mobility. Despite the yurt size, it can be easily constructed within one hour. Therefore, the yurt was especially important for the soldiers and nomads.

Yurt was the most accessible housing for nomads, because they had all the staff to construct the yurt, such as felt, leather and wood. In addition, felt has an amazing property - it keeps cool during the warm weather and keeps warm during the cold season. 

The size, ventilation and illumination of the yurt can be easily adjusted. In hot weather, for additional ventilation you can just raise the side rope. There is always clean air, as the round shape of the walls eliminates the pathogenic energy harmful to health, which is typical for buildings with straight angles.

The yurt installation has several steps. In addition, the most responsibilities take women.  The first thing to do is to make a wooden frame. Then comes a doorframe, which is joined, to expanding lattice wall-sections called kerege. Yurt of medium size usually consists of four kerege. The expanding lattice wall-sections are fixed by special straps made of camel and bull skin, and to the doorframe kerege is fixed with a woven belts (terma) decorated with ornament.

Then comes tunduk. The dome of yurt is created of the special ceiling boards called uuk. The doorframe is fixed by a door with the height of 1,5 meters. In ancient times, the doorframe was fixed by felt mat felt.

The next step is to "wrap up" the finished ribbon, felt and mat. At first two long mat are tied around the  expanding lattice wall-sections , the dome of the yurt is covered with two felt carpets called uzuk, and the ropes are covered with felt,  called the turd. For durability, the inner and outer parts of the yurt are tied with a double fiber rope. In the center of the dome is fixed a four-sided figure from the felt. The floor in the yurt is also covered with colorful felt carpets - ala-kiyiz and shirdak, richly decorated with national ornaments in animal style.

The final step is decorating and arranging the interior. This is an important stage in the installation of the yurt, as it completely reflects the worldview of nomads, for whom the yurt was not only a dwelling, but a small model of the universe. They divided the inner space vertically and horizontally.  The male half is called-er-zhak it is the left part of the entrance, where men kept their weapons, horse and hunting gear. Women's part is the right half of the yurta, where the kitchen utensils, foodstuffs and baby's bed.

The place of women and men, called tөr. This also a place of a hearth that symbolizes the welfare of the house, so this place was considered the most honorable in the yurt and was intended for the reception of guests. Tөr is richly decorated and furnished with objects embodying the family's prosperity: the most valuable good, carpets, furs and others, and the Muslims nomads can see the Koran here.

On the vertical, the nomads divided the inner space of the yurt into three zones. The floor meant a world, the walls personified the world of people, and the dome symbolized a heavenly host. That's tunduk was a personification of Tengri God.  So the tradition of calling Tengri God was preserved among the nomads of the Türks and after the adoption of Islam, therefore, in many Turkic languages, along with the words "Allah" and "Kudai" (Most High), Tengri is one of the names of God.

Each ethnicity call the yurt differently. For example Kazakhs call kiyiz (felted house), Kyrgyz call bos (gray house), Turkmen call ak / kara (white / black house), Tuvans - өg (house), but all yurts mean house. The yurt symbolized freedom for the nomad. The nomads followed the nature changes, because they thought that people should live in harmony with the world.