The state of Mongolia is in transition from a nomadic way of life to a modern urban life style. It is estimated that in 2009 there are about 200,000 - 300,000 Mongolians practicing the traditional nomadic way of life, and the numbers are declining as the younger generation move into the cities.
Ger / Yurt
The Ger has been the main habitation of Central Asian nomads for thousands of years and continues to be the traditional form of dwelling in the Mongolian steppe. The name for the Mongolian Ger in other parts of Asia is the Russian term Yurta (юрта) or Yurt, originated from the Turkic word meaning "home land". The Kazach's in west Mongolia use the term "felt home" kiyiz üy (киіз үй).
The interior design is very similar in Gers across the country, and has changed very little along the thousands of years Gers where used. Modern times have brought to the traditional Ger, TV dishes powered by solar panels.
A typical interior design of a Ger.
A Nomadic dwelling has to be able to withstand extreme weather conditions, allow comfortable living, and in addition has to be easy to pack and assemble in a new location. The architecture of the Ger has developed into a sophisticated, yet simple, design that brings an optimal answer to all these demands.
Floor - The wooden floor serves as insulation during the frozen winters.
Walls (Qana in Mongolian) made of wooden cris cross lattice design.
Roof (Uni) are the wooden red beams that form the roof skeleton.
Roof Ring (Toghona) is a hoop of wood containing slots that the roof red beams can lock into.
Cover (Isegei) walls and roof skeleton are covered with felt - a thick canvas material.
On the outside of the Ger is a TV satellite dish, solar power panels, and a motorcycle that takes over the traditional role of the horse.
Will the traditional Ger survive through modernization? The need for fast development of homes in urban areas has created large suburbs of Ger homes on the outskirts of cities. Some modern houses have a traditional Ger in the courtyard. Ger campsites are spread around all major tourist sites.
Video: Ger (Yurt)
Mongolian architecture - in Wikipedia
Yurt - in Wikipedia
Yurts and Nomads - in Mongolian Yurts
Mongolian Ger - in Monkey Business Shrine
Mongolian Customs - in silver Horde