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Here is a free copy of my book Build your own yurt, written in 1995, It has been used by a great many people who have built their own yurts. Our designs have progressed enormously since 1995. For a much more comprehensive guide see The Complete Yurt Handbook or see the rest of our website

A complete guide to making a Mongolian Ger
by P.R. King

First edition 1995, Second edition 1997.
Third edition, revised, updated, and expanded. 1997.
Copyright © 1995, 1997, 1998 all rights reserved.
ISBN 09531763 0 4

Third Edition
Fully revised and expanded for 1998
Internet Edition Jan 2000

The Yurt

The English word Yurt comes from the Russian Yurta describing a circular trellis walled framed tent. The Russian word Yurta is derived from a Turkic word describing a camping ground. The roof is supported by a conical or domed frame consisting of a number of ribs radiating from a central wooden wheel to the top of the wall trellis. The yurt is traditionally covered with felt, made by beating and rolling wet sheep fleece. There are three main types of yurt:

The Kirgiz yurt with bent-wood roof poles and crown and a domed overall shape. Used by the Turkish speaking kirgiz, Kazak, Uzbek, and Turkmen people.

The two tiered yurt with a pointed roof and two layers of wall section placed one on top of the other. Used by the Uzbek, and Arab peoples of Afghanistan.

The Mongol or Kalmuk ger with straight roof poles, a heavy timber crown, often supported by two upright poles, and fitted with a wooden door. It is this type of yurt that will be described in this book.

The Mongolian Ger (describing a Mongolian's tent as a yurt may offend his/her national pride) is a versatile dwelling with a proven pedigree, being home to the nomads of central Asia for many centuries. The oldest complete yurt yet discovered was in a 13th century grave in the Khentei Mountains of Mongolia. Discoveries at Pazaryk, Southern Siberia indicate that the technology to make yurts was in use during the 4th century BC. The BBC Horizon series "Ice Mummies" suggests that yurts were in use at this time. Throughout this time the design has changed little, the ger being perfectly suited to a nomadic lifestyle in one of the worlds most inhospitable climates, with high winds rain and snow, where winter temperatures regularly fall to -50ºC. To this day it is still the preferred home to the majority of Mongolian people, the suburbs of the capital Ulaan Baatar consist entirely of gers. The use of the other two yurt types has declined greatly this century.

This proven design is equally well suited to the many uses for moveable dwellings in this country. The yurt can be insulated for winter use, the sides rolled up to admit a cooling breeze on hot days.

On clear nights one can lie in bed and watch the stars through the open crown. On wet nights there is plenty of room for a group of friends to sit in comfort around a warm stove, tell stories and listen to the storm outside. The atmosphere inside the yurt is one of warm, secure, solidity, while from the outside the yurt radiates a welcoming glow.


Figure 1. Oxen carrying Kirgiz yurt and furnishings (after Murray, 1936)

 




"To say we were impressed with your work is an under statement, and its not only us we have shown your work via the photos we took to several Mongols all of whom agree your work is excellent and wish you all the best." Mark Glen and Altanzul Yondonjalbuu (Cheshire/Mongolia, 1999)

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