Yurts are homes that are similar to tents in structure, circular in design and originally built for the nomadic lifestyle. They originated in the central part of Asia and were also found in parts of Russia. They are built to be portable but are more durable in design then a tent would be. They are still used as homes in a lot of places today. They are a trend in some countries and North America has several manufacturers that build yurts for homes. The ones that these companies make are made for stationary living and are not movable. However, usually they are very capable of being taken apart and loaded onto camels and horses.
Yurts have existed since at least 400BC and they are still a big part of Mongolia's housing history. Some Mongolian yurts were put on platforms and then placed on four wheels to make them mobile. Genghis Khan himself had a cart like this that was pulled by oxen from place to place. Even today, people of Mongolia still live their lives with yurts as their homes. One of the towns that has a large yurt community is the town of Ulaanbaatar. They have a large population that lives in yurts mixed in with standard homes in housing housing tracts.
The yurt is built of several different components which give it strength. They are made to withstand rain, snow and high winds. The base of a yurt could be just a dirt floor with carpets, or made of a wood flooring for a platform. Which ever style of floor the yurt has, it still needs a level surface for it to be built on. By building on platforms, it also created a dry surface for the living quarters. The first lower part of a yurt is the walls and they are made out of a lattice material to give strength to the walls. Above the lattice is a steel cable or strong rope running around the entire circumference of the yurt. This has to be strong enough to hold all the roof rafters of the yurt. Then, the roof rafters go up from the cable to the center of the yurt. In the top of the yurt is a steel or wood ring with an opening that joins all the roof rafters with the walls that are made out of lattice. The exterior surface of the walls are made of canvas or vinyl materials that can be sewn together to form a large tent material. The original yurts were made of skins that were sewn together and used as the exterior walls. The roof top center of the yurt can be covered by skins, or plastic and plexiglass are sometimes used.
Yurts are an interesting look into what kind of houses people used to live in. The fact that they are still in use today bears witness to the durability of the design. They are used by campers in place of tents because of their strength. Cabins can be made for temporary housing in wilderness areas where regular cabins are not permitted. The versatility and use of the design for these homes seems to be endless.