From Antivist

Yurt is a portable felt dwelling structure used traditionally by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.

Wooden poles or uuks in Kyrgyz connect the lattice-work walls on the bottom of the yurt to the crown or shangrak (the hole in the middle of the tent for the smoke to escape and light to enter). This wood frame (kerege) is then covered with felt and then sometimes with canvas.

Many modern enthusiasts, mostly based in the U.S., have used the name "yurts" for some of their round huts as well. Although those structures may be copied to some extent from the originals found in Central Asia, they have been greatly changed and adapted and are in most cases very different.

In the United States and Canada, yurts are made using hi-tech materials. They are highly engineered and built for extreme weather conditions. In addition, erecting one can take days and they are not intended to be moved often. Often the designs of these U.S. yurts hardly resemble the original designs and are better named modern yurts or yurt derivations as strictly speaking they are no longer round felt homes that are easy to mount, dismount and transport.

In Europe, most yurt makers are making adaptations of Mongolian and Central Asian styled yurts from local hardwoods. These yurts may have been adapted for a wetter climate with steeper roof profiles and waterproof canvas. In essence they are yurts but many lack the felt cover that is present in traditional yurt.

Unlike the ones made by many U.S. manufacturers, these yurts are very similar to those found in Central Asia. In Holland, one yurt maker makes exact replicas of Mongolian Gers. Froit has studied yurt making in Mongolia and recently published a book about Ger making, The Real Mongol Ger Book.

Different groups and individuals use yurts for a variety of purposes, from full-time housing to school rooms. In some provincial parks in Ontario, yurts are available for camping.


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