What is a Yurt?

Kyrgyz Yurt

A Yurt is known as a Ger in Mongolia, or a Boyuz in Kyrgyzstan. The word Yurt itself is derived from Russian origins. The modern use of the word is to refer to a circular trellis-walled portable shelter. Yurts are traditional dwellings from central Asia that have been in use for hundreds if not thousands of years.
There are several varieties of Yurt and all share the essential circular shape, trellis walls, and roof poles radiating from a central wheel. Traditionally they were covered in felt sections though felt alone is only suitable in dry climates. Hence most modern Yurts have canvas covers with felt being used for insulating layers.


The Yurts ancient design has survived the ages due to its immensely practical nature. It is portable and easy to install, being traditionally transported on horseback by nomadic herders. The harsh climate and extreme temperatures of the Asian steppe required a shelter that is stable in strong winds, well insulated, sustainable and comfortable. The Yurt has all these characteristics.



Hearthworks Yurts:

Hearthworks journey with Yurts began over twelve years ago with our first Yurt made from coppiced hazel with an ash roof wheel and oak door frame. Our Yurts are styled on the traditional Khazakh nomadic Yurts with steam bent roof poles and lightweight roof wheels. As well as making many fine Yurts for sale we have built up a lovely collection of Yurts for hire ranging from 9-32ft diameter. The larger Yurts make ideal outdoor event spaces for weddings and parties, especially when they are finished with Hearthworks luxurious range of fine furnishings.



We now make our Yurt frames from locally sourced Ash – a durable traditional hardwood. All the wood is steam bent and fixed with pre-stretched polyester cord. We use coppiced hazel for the bracing on the roof wheel. We can also make the frames to your specifications, for example from Oak, or from coppiced Ash.
The covers are made from the best quality 12 oz/yd2 Cotton or Polycotton Canvas that is proofed against fire, water and rot. The main canvas is usually natural cotton colour but we can provide coloured trim on the roof wheel cover and valance.

A Hearthworks Yurt cover consist of:

  • Fitted canvas roof cover with double valance (flap) around the edge under which the walls attach.
  • Peg loops from polyester webbing with pre-stretched polyester cord and Ash pegs.
  • Wall sections from canvas with turn button fasteners on the door, and PVC strip around the bottom section.
  • Roof-wheel cover from star-shaped canvas with clear vinyl central circle. Ties from polyester cord with Ash pegs.



Timber Decking and Hearth

Decking Floors:

You can customize your Yurt with features such as additional doorways, windows in the side wall, coloured canvas design, wood stove and flooring. Hearthworks offers exquisite decking flooring for Yurts that can be made in easy to bolt together sections. In our circular design the decking radiates out from the center. We can also make more simple wooden platforms from exterior plywood. You can choose to have decking made from either sustainable hardwood or pine, both of which are ideal for a permanent pitch. Please contact us for further details and prices of our range of wooden flooring.





Woodburning Stoves: 

We offer a great selection of locally manufactured wood burning stoves that come complete with flue pipe, silica roof plates and optional installation. Take a look at the full range on offer.









Kyrgyz Yurts

Traditionally the Kyrgyz were nomadic shepherds who lived in yurts and migrated seasonally with all their flocks. The yurt with its entire household was transported by horses or camels. The walls of yurt and the floor were covered with felt rugs (shyrdak) and felt carpets . The walls were decorated with reedy rugs (chij) that protected a yurt from wind and could be displaced easily. Since that time the size, the shape and the yurt inside have not been changed. The yurts are still used by shepherds in summer and for all year round it is used for traditional events.

Hearthworks are proud to be the sole U.K provider of traditional Kyrgyz Yurts. We are offering the full range of handcrafted frames, reed walls, felt covers and flooring, decorations and yak skin rugs.

A Kyrgyz yurt, is taller than the British yurt, with a steeper roof and smaller circumference. The Kyrgyz willow frame has more roof poles and trellis wood to withstand the harsh conditions in Central Asia. This makes the Kyrgyz Yurts more robust and ideal for a permanent pitch.




Yurt Frame:

Consists of Roof Wheel (Tunduk), Door Frame (Kashek), Roof Poles (Uuk) and Trellis (Kerege). The Frame is from steam bent willow and can be painted red or finished from linseed oil. All fixings are from rawhide with metal bolts on the wheels.






Kyrgyz Yurt Felt Cover


Felt Cover:

Complete Yurt cover from 100% pure sheep’s wool. It comes in separate sections for the roof and wall and is complete with hand woven woolen rope. This is available in natural grey colour only.






Kyrgyz Yurt Felt Decoration


Felt Decoration:

This decorative Yurt accessory is known as a ‘Javyk Bash’ and consists of a colourful band of appliquéd feltwork. This surrounds the base of the roof section and the traditional patterns are visible from inside – creating a beautiful and authentic feel to the Yurt interior. Natural colours are also available.





Kyrgyz Yurt Reed Walls


Reed Walls:

Known as ‘Chiy’. These walls of woven reed go between the Trellis and Felt Cover. The reeds are wrapped individually with wool to create bold, tribal designs that are seen through the Trellis walls.






Kyrgyz Yurt Felt Flooring


Felt Flooring:

Complete circular felt floor that fits the Yurt exactly. This is made of different sections of ‘Shyrdak’ (appliquéd feltwork). It features the traditional Kyrgyz designs and is available in natural or bright colours. This is probably the most exquisite flooring available for a Yurt.






Although styles of architecture and city planning come and It is not possible to say which of the ancient nomadic tribes originally developed the traditional Yurt desig — but it is still in use by people throughout Central Asia and plays an important role in the lifestyle of the Kyrgyz people, the yurt remains a stable and lasting link with the past.

The number of his subjects in a traditional village was measured by counting the number of columns of smoke that would rise from each yurt. This technique is still used in Kyrgyz villages to count the number of households — even though in most modern villages the people live in brick houses.
For their yurts a family needs between 130 and 170 kilograms of wool and a family needs a flock of at least thirty-three sheep a year for basic sustenance.
The shepherds usually set up their yurts on high ground, from where they can easily oversee their livestock, and watch the surrounding world. They can also be seen in valleys beside a mountain stream. In autumn and winter, windless spots that lacked heavy snowfalls were preferred.
The Tunduk is an essential symbol of the Kyrgyz and was chosen as part of the emblem to represent the nation on the national flag. From the outside the yurt is covered by the reed walls. Finally the nearly finished structure is covered with a specially prepared thick felt.Usually a yurt is covered by several layers of felt — each layer fixed by strong strings to poles dug into the ground around the yurt.

The tyunduk is partially covered with a felt mat, which in the daytime and in clear weather is folded back, whilst in the cold or rainy season can shut tightly against the hole in the roof and so preventing wind and rain from penetrating into the interior.
In stormy weather the occupants attach fine lassos to the ceiling. They are often mistaken for decoration, as their ends are large tassels of multi coloured threads hanging down from the tunduk. However, if necessary, they can be pulled down and attached to the poles in the middle of the yurt — which adds strength to the structure and helps it to withstand even very powerful storms.
The Kyrgyz refer to the yurt as the ‘grey house’. In ancient times ordinary nomads could not use the best quality felt to cover their yurts and they used the wool remains of black and grey colours. The khan's yurts would be dressed in snow-white felt and were called ‘ag-orgo’ or white yurts.

Although most Kyrgyz now live in high-rise apartment blocks, they have a special affection for the yurt. Often, on the occasion of a birthday a yurt will be set up and guests invited. The yurt is also a place where the Kyrgyz gather for the funeral of their relatives.