Where Did Yurts Originate

The yurt is a type of dwelling that originated in Central Asia. It was traditionally used by nomadic tribes such as the Mongols and Turkic people but has been adapted to modern times. The word yurt comes from the Mongolian verb “yur-u,” which means “to assemble or put together.” 

Yurts are made with wood, bamboo poles, and fabric and can range in size from small ones for one person up to large ones that can house an entire family. 

This blog post will examine where they originate, their history, and what they look like today!

The Origin of Yurts

Yurts are an ancient form of architecture that has been used for centuries by nomads in the steppes and high plateaus.

The Buryat Mongolian community of Siberia claims that their land was the birthplace of the yurts, and they’ve been living in yurts for centuries. The earliest mentions of the yurt structure were on a bowl unearthed by archaeologists in the Zagros Mountains of Iran. It dates back to around 600 BCE. 

Herodotus, a Greek historian, wrote about yurts used by the Scythian nomads around 440 BCE. In 1274-1291 Marco Polo also described the Mongolian yurts in his writings. Mongolian leader Genghis Khan also lived in a yurt and it was believed that his yurt was never dismantled. According to a legend, it was mounted on a huge wheel cart pulled by 22 oxen. 

History of Yurts 

Yurt is a beautiful and traditional tent that has been used by nomads all over the world. Its long history in Central Asia makes it a symbol of people who have always been on the move, whether for trade or war along with their domestic animals. 

The nomads of Central Asia used to live in yurts and even today more than 90% of the Mongolian rural population live in yurts. Yurts can be easily erected and dismantled so due to this reason nomads who migrate from place to place use them as temporary residences.

Yurts were also used by Mongolian armies during their times and their ruler Genghis Khan ruled his entire kingdom from yurts. His empire ranged from the Korean peninsula in the east to China, Tibet, Iran in the south to Georgia and Russia in North

As the Mongol Empire expanded, they brought with them a culture of yurts. Yurt-style homes were common in Turkey until the 1960s. Recently they started living in concrete buildings but yurts can still be found mostly in farms and rural areas. 

The traditional procedure to make camp for nomads was to make a circular perimeter of yurts, within which were positioned the livestock and vehicles. This circular arrangement was also known as gure’en. Most nomads lived in small groups so it wouldn’t overburden any particular area during their tribe’s large gatherings at seasonal/annual tribal meetings. 

History of Yurts

Do Mongols still live in yurts

Yurts are still the most common type of shelter in Mongolia, and even though Ulaanbaatar (also known as “Ulan Bator”) is now home to more than half of that country’s population more than 50%, actually living in yurts.  

You can find yurts all over from steppe lands near Lake Buir where nomads keep their herds during winter months when grazing becomes scarce; through Central or Western regions which boast some very rugged terrain with little rainfall.

A high percentage оf Mongolians retain a nomadic lifestyle by continuing tо roam freely throughout their villages аnd townships setting up and dismantling their yurts. These people live off their herds, which they take with them when moving from one place to other following seasonal patterns.

The movement of these groups depends on grazing land availability as well as other natural resources – like forests where it’s usually possible to find wood for building yurts, cooking, and sources like lakes or rivers. They just survive on basic necessities and live a minimalist lifestyle. 

How did the Mongols build yurts

Throughout history and even today also the skin of yurt tents has been made from felt. The traditional material was wool and it was made waterproof by adding sheep fat or milk to create a durable shield against water intrusion. This also makes the material a great insulator in winter and protects the nomads from cold weather and winds. Along with this it also protects the wood from elements. Nowadays the felt of yurt is covered with waterproof material like canvas or tarpaulin 

mongols yurts

The felt or substitute material is spread over a lattice framework and sometimes the outer walls are also decorated with local flora and fauna to represent what they saw in their region. 

The dome was left partially open so that light could enter and smoke from the firewood stove could escape from the yurt. Not only that, the flattish top of the yurt also proved useful for curing cheese during winter months when there’s no warmth inside due to low temperature. 

The door and frame are typically made of wood, usually facing south. The interior size of today’s Mongolian yurts is smaller than ancient ones because they have been reduced to a single family’s home as it is too difficult for one person alone without help from others around them to constantly be satisfied maintaining these old structures. 

The north side of any yurt is the place that holds the honor. A family shrine will be placed upon an altar in this area, beds are lined up close to either east or west walls with colorful cushions and blankets neatly folded amongst them for guests who might stay over during the festival season. 


It’s easy to see why the modern-day version of this ancient structure would become popular among those who love outdoor activities like camping or hiking because it offers protection from harsh weather conditions such as rain and snow without sacrificing any space inside. 

One of the most intriguing things about yurts is that they are a cultural phenomenon. Even though their origins may be rooted in Mongolian nomadic traditions, it’s clear from observing them worldwide that these tents have been adopted by other cultures and societies as well.

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