tent apartments

Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek and Uzbekistan’s Tashkent have experienced the planning of Soviet apartment blocks during last decades. The fact that a great part of their population was still rooted in a nomad life, made bizarre transformations of concrete high-rise appear, when people  moved from the meadows to the industrial city. Nomads of central Asia and Mongolia have traditionally inhabit Yurts or Gers, a circular collapsible structure out of foldable timber lattice and felt; taking only one hour to erect them, without a single nail. However, when moved to a standard apartment, families have been reported to wall their windows and tear down all inner partitions, in order to erect their windowless nomad tent inside the whole apartment in the 5th floor.

The nomads divide the interior (of the circular floorplan) into two basic parts. The left part belongs to the man, where he stores his weapon, saddles and horse-whips. On the right side, the woman keeps the household goods such as dishes, cups and cutlery as well as her belongings like dresses and jewelry. A wall made of reed separates the cooking area from the living room…There are some ancient Chinese documents about wars with Kyrgyz Nomads. It is written that when they wanted to attack the Kyrgyz in the morning, they could not do it, because during the night the whole village just silently disappeared. [Source>mykyrgyzstan]

If Russian planning made nomad Yurts struggle, so is doing the Made in China economy. Kyrgyz people recognize that recently imported Chinese-manufactured tents are easier to assemble (20 minutes instead of 1 hour) and cheaper. However, a Chinese unit would last up to 3 seasons, while the traditional Kyrgyz one, can last several generations. Not only being used by nomads nowadays, urbanites in Bishkek or Tashkent also prefer them for family funerals, weddings or official acts, interacting with standard built environments.

[image1> yurt inside a concrete building in Ulan Baator via trueslant] [image2>yurt by Ondřej Žváček] [image3>chinese prefab yurt by david trilling via tol] [image4>erecting a mongolian ger via canada mongolia connection]

One Comment

  1. Alex

    The upper photo with Yurta in a construction building – this photo, I assume, was made in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (neither Uzbekistan nor Kyrgyzstan).
    Next photo with Yurta aside building was also made in Mongolia, I assume.
    On both photos signs are in Mongolian.
    Also, Uzbek nation has settled thousands years ago and is not considered a nomadic for ages.

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