February 4, 2020

What is a yurt and why are yurt camps so popular in Kyrgyzstan?

Nomads in Kyrgyzstan from ancient times settled in yurts. Portable dwellings, which could be assembled and disassembled, suited their lifestyle just perfectly. Yurts also had a sacred meaning for nomads. The decoration of yurts is a clear example of the folk-applied art of nomads.

The answer to the question of why the shape of the yurt is always round was found in the belief of nomads. The circle had a sacred meaning, and the construction of a yurt represents the model of creation of the ancient people: the carpet on the floor is grass on the ground, the dome symbolizes the sky, a wooden rim with a convex grating inside, located in the center is the sun, and sliding walls are the cardinal points.

In reality, the choice of the round shape of the yurt is determined by the place where it is installed. The steppes are always windy and a round-shaped dwelling can withstand any hurricane.

Kyrgyz yurt serves as a substitute for everything that surrounds us every day. The value of the yurt in their life is even greater since it is a whole world, equal in value to the natural world. Yurt is a microcosm, a model of the universe. Everything is practical in it, there is nothing superfluous, and at the same time, each thing has its own deep meaning.

We live in an era of new technologies and a frantic pace of life. Every day we have to deal with a huge flow of information, noise, and, accordingly, stress. We are looking for ways to make our lives easier, save time with the help of various gadgets and devices. Electricity, hot water, the Internet are completely natural for us, and we cannot imagine our lives without it.

It’s hard to believe, but there are people who voluntarily shielded themselves from the pressure of the big city and continue to lead a nomadic lifestyle. All they really depend 

on is livestock: since animals constantly need new pastures,pastoralists are forced to move from one place to another several times a year and live among the steppe.

What seems to us a whole adventure, for nomads, is everyday life, and for happiness, they do not need much. They live and work, reverently preserving centuries-old traditions.

For others, yurts are a way to earn money. There are people who accept tourists in their yurts for a little fee. Others made a whole business by opening yurt camps, where you can book places as well as in a hotel. Of course, the amenities here cannot be compared with those of a hotel somewhere in Florida, but all this nomadic atmosphere attracts thousands of tourists every year to the yurt camps of Kyrgyzstan.

Spending a few days in a yurt camp is a tangible and exciting way to immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of Kyrgyzstan.

Most yurt camps include breakfast in the amount of accommodation in the yurt, moreover, almost all yurt camps can provide three meals a day, which will give you an excellent opportunity to taste traditional nomadic Kyrgyz cuisine, and the dishes offered to you will be prepared according to the recipe of ancestors passed down from generation to generation. Some yurt camps even offer culinary masterclasses where you can learn how to cook traditional Kyrgyz dishes.

There are many yurt camps in Kyrgyzstan, but we would like to pay special attention to two of them.

Oimo-Tash – if you are tired of the bustle of the city, endless worries, stress, and bad news, and of the Internet, just pack your bags and suitcases and go to the southern coast of the beautiful Issyk-Kul Lake, namely, in the yurt camp of Oimo-Tash, which is very close to Kaji-Sai. The monument to the manaschy Sayakbai Karalaev mounted on the mountain can work as a pointer to you, and, having passed it a little, on the left you will see the arch of this camp.

You will surely appreciate the quality hotel service, a cozy and beautiful yurt with a bed, dresser and bedside table (there are electricity and a heater, and snow-white towels and even slippers), delicious home-made food, and of course the purest lake water, its beauty, endless sky, and most importantly, the lack of Internet.

Bel-Tam – year-round Issyk Kul yurt camp. Perfect location, great food, and very welcoming crew – very friendly and hospitable family who runs this place will make you feel at home, even though you are at the end of the world. Regardless of the time of year, it is always warm and very cozy in yurts. And of course, if you’re looking for a camp with a breathtaking view of the Issyk-Kul lake, this is the place to be. Oh, and it is worth to be noted that they have a shower and western-style toilets!

A yurt, of course, is an integral part of Kyrgyz culture. therefore, it would be simply unforgivable to come to Kyrgyzstan and not see her. We hope this article will help you learn more about the significance of a yurt for the Kyrgyz people and will provide an opportunity to find the best yurt camps. Good luck!

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