What Is a Yurt?


Quick Answer

A yurt, also known as a ger, is a round, portable, tent-like structure that was traditionally used by nomadic peoples in Central Asia. They are typically stronger than most modern tents because they are designed to withstand heavy snow and wind.

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Full Answer

Yurts are often large enough to house an entire family and usually have a pointed top to help prevent snow buildup that might risk crushing the structure. They were used by Mongolians and other nomadic peoples who drove their herds across the steppes. They are designed for year-round living in all conditions and are traditionally made from wood and horsehair or animal skins.

Modern yurts are often made from aluminum instead of wood and polyester or other synthetic fabrics, although some are still made with traditional materials. Many people who live in yurts do not travel with them but instead build them as semipermanent living structures on top of a raised platform. They are designed as one large room, but some people use partitions such as screens or cloth to separate them into additional rooms. Some have windows built into them, while others follow the more traditional solid-wall construction.

As of 2015, yurts are growing in popularity as housing because they are affordable, easy to build and may not require permits in some areas. Permit and zoning laws vary, however.

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