The first yurts have been traced back to the time of Gengis Khan. Marco Polo, observing the nomadic people of Mongolia, noticed their sturdy, round tents made of rods and felt which they carried on carts. Yurts (or gers, as they are called in Asia) are still used today throughout parts of Russia, Mongolia, and Siberia.
The traditional yurt walls were made of slats lashed together with leather thongs to form a collapsible trellis, or lattice. The lattice was set up in a circle and the door lashed into place. The crown or center ring was set on two posts in the center of the yurt. Roof poles connected to the crown and rested on top of the lattice. Finally, the entire lattice was bound together with a tension rope. The yurt cover was constructed of felt, beaten soft by rolling and kicking wet sheep fleece. In cold climates, up to six layers were used to insulate the structure.
Yurts have been used in some of the most inhospitable and barren regions of the world: the deserts of the Sahara and Gobil the central Asian steppe; the polar tundras.
There are two types of ancient yurts which our modern yurt is based on – the Mongolian Ger and the Turkic Üy. These structures were used by nomadic tribes because they were light, easily transportable, and could be set up and taken down quickly. For the nomads that lived in them, the circular construction of an ancient yurt provided the sturdiest possible structure, as well as a connection to the earth.
- roof poles are straight
- heavy complex ring
- heavy wooden single door
- roof poles are bent
- lighter simple ring
- flap or two-piece door