My yurt is my castle
They stand in stark contrast to the imposing glass-brass-and-marble State Palace on the north end of the square.
Since I don’t speak Mongolian, I can only guess that the yurts are for sale.
I suppose some local yurt-manufacturer wants to show all the different models he offers. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a price list.
There are yurts in eight different sizes Ulan Bator’s central square. Each one is furnished and decorated in a different way.
The biggest is a ceremonial meeting yurt – complete with ornately painted throne chairs and desks.
When I looked in, I sort of expected Genghis Khan and his military commanders to be sitting inside, waiting to hold council over me…
I doubt, however, that the Mongolian nomads of the steppe would buy this cutesy yurt for their kids.
It somehow just doesn’t fit in withmatch the image I have of the rural Mongolian population.
Taking down the yurt
As I was walking across Sükhbaatar Square this afternoon, some people were just beginning to take the yurts down.
Yurts, gers or mobile homes?
Wherever you go in Mongolia, you’ll see yurts or gers, as they are called here.
Many Mongolians still live in them, others use them as a weekend home or as a kind of shed in their back yard.
And then, of course, there are all sorts of yurt camps for tourists everywhere.
Yurts are traditionally used by the Nomads of the steppe. For them, the yurt is a practical, ingenious prefab home.
According to my travel guide,
…the design of this compact tent is ideally suited to nomadic lifestyle. It combines coolness in summer and warmth in winter. Made mostly of wood and other locally available materials, it can be quickly assembled or taken to pieces, and is easily transported from place to place on camelback…
So if you’ve ever regretted the fact that you can’t easily transport your kids’ playroom on camelback, you might want to think about buying a yurt.