The Tsaatan People of North Mongolia

The Tsaatan people are a small Tuvan Turkic community of reindeer herders living in northern Khövsgöl province of Mongolia, close to the border with Russia. Originally, they came from an area across the border that is now the Tuva Republic of Russia. They inhabit a remote subarctic taiga region with extremely cold temperatures during the winter season.

The Tsaatan people are one of the last groups of nomadic reindeer herders in the world. In Mongolia, there are only 40 Tsaatan families left and about 1,500 reindeers. They seasonally migrate within the forests of the Taiga according to weather and food conditions, constantly in search of better pastureland for their animals.

The Tipis of the Tsaatan People

The Yarangas of the Chukchi People

The Chukchi, who live in the interior of the Chukchi Peninsula, have traditionally been herdsmen and hunters of reindeer.

The yaranga is a traditional movable home of the Chukchi and Siberian Yupik nomadic peoples. The outer appearance of their dwellings is similar to the yurts of the nomadic people of Central Asia, but the wooden frame is different.

The yaranga was built from poles tied together and covered by a canopy of reindeer skins. Chukchi were able in just a few minutes to disassemble or assemble a yaranga.

The Yarangas of the Chukchi People

The Yarangas of the Chukchi People

The Chukchi yaranga had two sections. In the first chamber, protected from the external environment, Chukchi prepared food and lived. In the second, the inner chamber, they slept. The temperature in the second chamber, even in cold weather, could reach up to +25 degrees Celsius! This allowed the Chukchi to sleep normally by taking off their outer clothing. The second chamber was heated by the heat of human bodies.

More Pictures of the Chukchi People

The Yarangas of the Chukchi People

The Turkish Yurt

The Turkish yurt is used in countries like Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. It differs from the Mongolian yurt in certain aspects.

Turkish yurts have curved roof poles that add some extra space to the inside of the yurt. The poles bend down at the wall junction and the roof is steeper than in a Mongolian ger. The crown is also a light structure made of bended wood. The dome weight is transferred through the bent roof pools onto the walls. This light dome structure does not need supporting poles placed under the crown.

A Turkish Yurt in Uzbekistan

The Turkish Yurt

A Turkish Yurt in Uzbekistan

The Traditional Mongolian Yurt

The main difference between the Mongolian yurt and other yurts is that the Mongolian nomads set up two poles in the middle of the yurt that represent the man and woman of the household and, according to custom, you are not allowed to walk between them. Kyrgyz nomads do not include these poles inside their yurt.

Mongolian entrance structures are made of a wooden door, while Turkish yurts usually close their entrance with a carpet.

Mongolian Yurt in the Gobi Desert

The Traditional Mongolian Yurt

For Mongolians, a ger is not just a shelter; it represents their whole worldview. The floor is based on the four directions: the door opens to the south; the sacred space is opposite the door to the north; the western half is the yang or masculine area with men’s possessions (hunting and riding gear) and seating for the men; and the eastern side is the yin or feminine area for the women and their household equipment. The ger holds the balance and flow of yang and yin, of the worlds above and below, centered around the sacred fire in a circle that balances all aspects of life (Kemery, Becky. 2006. Yurts: Living in the Round. Gibbs Smith, Publisher. ISBN 978-1586858919).

Yurts in the Mongolian Countryside

The Modern Yurt in Europe

As you can find by surfing through our website, modern yurts are adapted Mongolian yurts. They have improved doors, large windows for more light, and crowns specially designed for rainy climates.

Just surf our website to read more about modern yurts.

Modern Mongolian Yurt with Windows

The Evolution of the Yurt, through Time and Cultures

Drawing of the Inside Evolution of the Yurt

Drawing of the Outside Evolution of the Yurt