The modern yurt has evolved from its origins with the nomadic Central Asian tribes; both the Mongolian Ger and the Turkic Uy are forerunners of what we now call the yurt. The modern fabric yurt is like its nomadic predecessor in most ways, except that canvas or synthetic fabric replaces the felted wool exterior. Many of the new yurts have a central plastic dome skylight and windows that let in lots of light, making them much more open and airy than the darker, womb-like nomadic yurts.
The form and structure of the portable yurt is simple, light-weight, strong, and ingenious. Typically a circular lattice framework creates the walls, and poles radiating from the top center ring slope down to connect with the walls. The key to keeping this shape stable is a cable that girds the ends of the poles where they meet the walls, and this holds the roof under tension.
Portable fabric yurt kits are available in many colors and come with a variety of custom options from companies across North America. These yurts are affordable (costing about the price of a new car) and can usually be set up in one day after the platform is built. Hard-shelled, more permanent yurts are also available and these can withstand more severe weather. Most amenities available in conventional homes can be found in both the fabric and hard-shelled yurts.
image from ulaantaij.com
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yurtinfo.org Becky Kemery's thorough and informative site devoted entirely to yurts, including their history, design, and how to build or buy them.
yourtent.com Yurt design, construction and sale.
rdrop.com The story of building a Pacific yurt.
weatherport.com has yurt and tiny living tips from experts.