Winter and set-up reminders
Here are a couple reminders so you get the best out of your yurt and a few more so you spend a wonderful winter...
- don't forget to anchor the toono's (dome) central rope to a heavy weight or to a ring in your platform if you expect strong winds. This is important! Your yurt could be twisted... or even act as a UFO if you fail to do so!
- make sure the top two outside circling ropes are always tight (especially in Winter)
- varnish your exterior wooden parts (at least once a year) - ask us if you're not sure which product to use. TIP: In very sunny or harsh areas, the door paint's life can be prolounged by adding a canvas cover on the door if you leave your yurt for extended periods.
- inspect your toono for any cracks ( mostly on top part) and seal or even reinforce
- get rid of excess of snow on the roof. TIP: if you're leaving your yurt for an extended period in winter, add two provisory bagaanas (central posts) under the toono.
- Make sure you are using the proper house wrap (Weathermate Plus from Dow, Flexgard Aspire from Intertape Polymer Corp. or Novawrap Brand, ASPIRE (TM) Premium Building Wrap) and that it is properly installed. TIP: add a plywood waning above the door to divert rain (ask us for pictures or advices!)
- canvas can be cleaned and treated - see YURT TIPS below on this page for more info or call us)
- if your yurt is installed properly, you should not have any water infiltration or condensation problems. Call us if you experience any troubles - close the toono when it's raining first, ;-)
- make sure your platform rim and door are well sealed to the platform (silicone) and the house wrap taped to the door
MONGOLIA: CLIMATE, HISTORY, CULTURE
Mongolia is an amazing country where half of the population still lives year round in a yurt (also known as a ger). Here are a few short facts about the history and way of life:
- Mongolia is a vast, landlocked country, between Russia and China.
- Its continental climate is one of the world’s most extreme: extremely cold winters, hot summers, high winds… but mostly blue skies!
- Almost a third of Mongolians are still nomads who herd sheep, horses, yaks, camels, goats. There are about 10 horses for every person in Mongolia.
- 800 years ago, the Mongolian emperor Genghis Khan, followed by his sons and grandsons, put together the largest empire ever, including most parts of Asia and some parts of Eastern Europe.
- Mongolians are mostly Buddhists. A smaller group, the ethnic Kazakhs in the west, is Muslim.
- Although life in the countryside seems to have remained unchanged for centuries, Mongolians are well educated. Their literacy rate is up to 98% -- more than in most occidental countries!
- Because of harsh conditions, Mongolians have to rely on each other in rural areas. This has contributed to the development of an extremely hospitable culture.
- Everyone is always welcome in a yurt. To knock on the door would even be considered impolite! The custom is to call out “Tie up the dogs!” as you approach.
- One enters the yurt with the right foot. It would bring bad luck to hit or walk on the door frame, since there's a protective spirit living in it.
- One walks clockwise in the yurt.
- The door usually faces south.
- Men are traditionally seated to the west, women to the east and special guests to the north. The north-facing wall of the yurt (opposite the door) is the most sacred area.
- For Mongolians, the yurt symbolizes the universe. They believe the axis of the world runs down through the toono (central dome) to the centre of the earth.
- The toono represents the interface between humans and the cosmos, being a passage to the divine world. The bagaanas (central posts) also connect human and divine, earth and sky.
- Although the wooden parts of the yurt's structure are often painted orange, the outside of the yurt is usually white, representing purity, good luck and nobility.
- Women light and care for the fire; they remain silent while doing it.
- Things are always given to someone with the right hand, with the left hand supporting the right arm, or with both hands.
- The yurt is not anchored to the ground, in order not to harm the earth.
- In strong winds, the rope that hangs from the centre of the toono (central dome) is tied to a large rock to anchor the yurt. When not in use, this rope is wound in a serpentine fashion and stored behind the roof rafters (huns) to the north of the yurt, as a symbol of fertility above the parents' bed.
- 5-wall yurts are the most common in Mongolia, and house families of 4 to 8 people. They all have 81 huns (roof rafters). 81 is 9x9, nine being a sacred number for Mongolians.
- There are many more interesting things to say about Mongolia and its people. You might want to visit this fascinating country!
Find here some reference on interesting yurt books....
If you want to go deep into details, consider Peter Alford Andrew's "Nomad tent Types in the Middle East" or "Felt Tents and Pavilions" from the Rug Book Shop
Although a little older, Mongolian Cloud House is another option, especially if you are thinking of building your own yurt.www.shelterpub.com
RESSOURCES IN MONGOLIA
If you are in Mongolia or are planning to get there, here are a few useful links:
Another good contacts for discovering Mongolia:http://www.cheketours.com/index.php?lang=en
Once you are there, check out the Librairie Papillon (http://www.librairiepapillon.com/). It’s a French library, but that offers a variety of great books about Mongolia in English too. Not far from the Bistro Français… if you want to change a little bit from the airag!
and if you need to ship back your houseold, your yurt, your husband, your yack or anything else to Canada and USA, GroovyYurts offers affordable LCL (Less than container loads) from Ulaanbaatar to Montreal and can organise further forwarding within Canada and USA (best rates during our regular delivery tours).