Where Yurts can be found?
There are Yurt-Restaurants in some Kazakhstan cities that offer tourists wide range of meals from traditional Kazakh cuisine. More Yurts can be found in rural areas (shepherds usually live in Yurts) or in specially constructed ethno-villages, e.g. in Burabay (Borovoe), Almaty region, etc. Moreover, during many tours comfortable Yurts are offered as an overnight accommodation for a short stay of tourists or as a hotel for longer stays.
If you were in Kazakhstan, but did not see the white Kazakh yurt on the green meadows of jaylyau, you can not feel and enjoy the real life of Kazakhs and their culture. Yurt is one of the oldest and greatest inventions of Eurasian nomads. At all times Yurt was a practical and convenient, portable accommodation.
The snow-white dome in the green foothill of jaylyau, fabulous play of carpets and tekemets, perfect prefabricated structure, which can be easily assembled or disassembled if needed, - traditional home of a nomad… is that - a legend or reality?
This original house, a traditional phenomenon of portable Kazakh houses had been evolving towards perfection for centuries. It has been recognized by researchers as "the most perfect type of portable shelters and impressed the travelers and merchants, ambassadors of foreign states and medieval historians. Many of them, left fanciful descriptions of felt tents, which amazed them with its comfort and splendid decorations.
Construction of a Yurt
Yurt is a round-shaped, sophisticated construction with a dome. If explain its structure in simple words, it consists of three main parts and many other smaller parts. Three main parts include Shanyrak – top of the Yurt, Kerege – walls carcass and Uwyk – a carcass part from Kerege to the Shanyrak. The carcass is usually covered with pieces of felt from outside and decorated with carpets from inside.
It should be noted, that Shanyrak is extremely valuable for Kazakhs and is considered to be a sacred symbol of family wellbeing and piece.
Yurt usually does not have rooms in it, and it was a common practice to have a separate Yurt as a bedroom, separate one as a kitchen, guesthouse, etc as long as people could afford that.
Kazakh Yurt - a sustainable and comfortable construction
Kazakh yurt is a product of traditional Kazakhstan culture based on the ecological balance and sustainability, a product of a culture that does not seek to dominate and change the nature, but seeks to learn its laws and follow them in a daily life. Perceiving the nature as a natural shelter, nomads created their house by the own laws of the nature.
A nomad made the Yurt easy for assembling and disassembling, and with the help of one camel and two horses the entire construction of the yurt and decorations of the interior are easily transported. Dynamism of the nomadic life is wholly reflected in the optimal comfort of Yurt’s structure. It keeps the cool air inside during hot summer days, protects from cold piercing winds in winter and does not get wet from pouring autumn rains.
Kazakh Yurt and communion with nature and the universe
When speaking of the Kazakh yurt, we can confidently say that the dwelling was not only just thoroughly thought out to meet the needs of the nomadic way of life, but the principle of the yurt construction and decoration was a reflection of nomads’ views on the world around them. Yurt brings a thoughtful and adapted principle of communion with nature, with flat Steppes and high mountains, alpine meadows and endless blue skies. Stay in a Yurt a couple of hours for a bowl of hot flavored tea or spend the night here and look through the half-open shanyrak, the cool light of distant stars will touch your face, and you will feel interesting, inexplicable feeling of comfortable security at home and at the same time a sense of infinite openness of the universe. This unusual way of life was probably dictated by ancestors of Kazakhs, not only because of the specifics of nomadic economy, but also from the need to feel themselves a part of a whole, to live in unison to the rhythms of the universe.
Yurt interior decorations
Connection to the nature and the universe is also reflected in the interior design of the Yurt. Flower patterns of tekemets (felt carpets), abstract, cosmogonic ornaments of baskurs (woven, patterned ribbons encircling the inner perimeter of the yurt), furniture intricately carved and inlaid, all these reflect the perception of the Kazakh nomads about the world structure and beauty among which they live. Almost all types of traditional craft of Kazakhs can be found in the interior decoration of the Yurt. Multi-coloured patterns of ornaments, rich texture and flexibility of wood-carvings, different type of embroideries, felt carpets, leather handiworks and metal items, thus creating a unique polyphony of colors and lines.