Symbol of Kyrgyzstan and its nomadic culture, the yurt is still very widely used across the country. Used for family gatherings and festivities, it also serves as a shelter for shepherds, especially in summertime when they leave their villages to go to mountain pastures.
During you trip in Kyrgyzstan, you’ll often have the opportunity to sleep under a yurt, but you’ll also be able to learn how to build a yurt yourself. In the village of Kyzyl-Tuu on the south shore of Issyk Kul Lake, each family makes yurts from A to Z. This art, passed from generation to generation, allows to preserve the unique craft of yurt building. Locals don’t only sell their yurts inside of Kyrgyzstan but also export them abroad.
Visit one of these families to learn all of the secrets of yurt fabrication: which wood is used and how to dry it, how to cut the wood and paint it, how to make the yurt’s walls, which materials are used… You’ll rapidly understand that the Kyrgyz yurt is made of only natural elements like leather, felt and wood and has not a single nail to hold it up.
Then you’ll be able to help your hosts assemble the yurt. These families even participate in the World Nomad Games for a contest on the fastest yurt builders. You’ll be able to see that yurts are a key element to unity, because you need a whole village to put up a yurt!
You’ll then be invited inside the yurt to taste a delicious cup of tea and the local delicacies that go with it.