So what's in a yurt style?
There are more types of yurt than you can shake a roof pole at. Different names, different materials, different
designs and even different philosophies behind their use and application. Some yurts claim to be something they
are not whilst some make no claims at all. With so much variation and hence confusion we thought we would offer
our thoughts on a basic sampling of five differant yurt styles.
Correct name is Ger. Ryhmes with mare. A Heavy
wooden framed yurt that is still used for living in by
hundreds of thousands of Mongolians. Closely
spaced wall slats which are steamed to
incorporate a curve at the top. Roof poles are
straight but a very specific shape. Round for three
quarters of their length and then square, tapering to
a point which slots into the crown wheel. Solid
wooden crown wheel and door. Unique feature is
the addition of crown supports. Only real Mongolian
yurts use crown supports, and no Mongolian we
have spoken to would ever think of removing them.
They are essential if yurt is to stand firm in extreme
For sales purposes often passed of as a
Mongolian yurt, but these yurts are Chinese
through and through. The door design is the same
as that found on many pieces of Chinese furniture,
door panels are made from chipbiard which can
delaminate. The crown wheel DOES NOT come
with crown supports, making them unstable in
high winds. The wall sections are made from
willow and incorporate a unique double curve not
seen in any other yurts. The roof poles should
incorporate a curve at one end such as you'd find
in a Turkic yurt, however they are straight as in a
Mongolian yurt. They normally come unpainted.
The system of attaching the outer cover is similar
Most UK makers concentrate on making the
Turkic style of yurt. The yurt does not always
come with a wooden door, but just a canvas flap.
You will have to pay extra foor a wooden door.
They will often use hard woods. Hard woods are
great, but expensive,this means they are not able
to follow traditional yurt patterns in terms of wall
and roof spacing. and hence "economize" by
cutting down on the amount of wood used in the
yurt. We have heard comments that this gives the
yurt a "flimsy" canvas tent like feel. Because this
type of structure is so light, and the use of felt is
frowned upon, it can also result in the use of guy
ropes to stop the yurt blowing away.
American yurts are an answer to a question that
hadn't existed before, how do you modernise a
yurt? America's answer was to use lots of
pressure treated timber, high tech PVC coverings,
space age insulation, plexiglass bubbles, aircraft
grade cable. An American yurt will include house
quality doors and double glazed windows. What
you end up with is a home that is shaped like a
yurt, nothing portable, but certainly yurt like. Like
most things American it would never exist in any
other country. It's a great hi-tech structure, but one
we feel lacks soul, but it is without doubt a unique,
modern, well made structure that is designed to
last. However all that high tech comes with a high
tech price that is more house like than yurt like.
Consists of a light bentwood crown, supported by
roof poles that are bent at one end to meet the
top of the wall trellis that also incorporates a
curve. This design gives a light, open portable
dwelling. Many people will tell you that this style
does without the use of crown supports as used
in a Mongolian type yurt. However we have seen
many MANY examples of Kazakh yurts in
Mongolia that once the wind gets up will add a
wooden support to the center of the yurt in order
to support it and stop it swaying around. The
profile of a Turkic yurt is very distinctive and quite
different from a Mongolian yurt. These yurt are not
designed to be water resistant and hence fair
poorly when imported into the West, although
their basic design is the one most often copied
by UK yurt makers.
weather and support heavy snow loads. Woodwork is usually painted a bright colour and decorated with
traditional Mongolian designs. Yurt is covered with five material layers including felt and canvas. Outer cover can
incorporate many different designs which are stitched on by hand.
to UK made yurts as it comes in two pieces and even has a "unique" frill design around edge of roof section. Tea
cosy-esque. All of the above features make this a yurt a collection of different yurt styles. Something made for
business purposes and not something derived from a nomadic peoples lives. It's not a Mongolian yurt or a
Turkic one but a Chinese yurt. Being made in China it is made quickly and cheaply from materials that look nice
when new but will not last.
Guy ropes are the anitthesis of what a yurt is, which is "A structure that, when moved, should not leave any mark
on the ground"
However in spite of this we feel it is still a member of the yurt family, well worth looking at and considering.
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