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What do you do if you live in arctic temperatures for much of the year, move around whenever your animals need fresh grass, and have almost no trees to make a home from? Answer: live in a ger!

A ger (sometimes called a yurt, its Russian name) is a Mongolian tent made of canvas or felt, draped over an ingenious frame to make an easily moveable, spacious, well-insulated home. Here are the main parts of a ger:

Lattice walls, or qana, made from criss-crossed wooden poles joined with leather lacing (or metal bolts). There are usually about six sections of lattice in a ger, each about two and a half metres wide. When the family move on, they can fold these lattice sections to make them easier to carry.

A wooden door, which always faces south (away from the coldest Siberian winds).

A roof ring, or toghona, usually a hoop of wood with slots where the roof poles attach. The roof ring lets out smoke from the cooking fire, and allows air to flow. In bad weather, it can be covered with a piece of felt or hide. Posts to support the roof in the centre.

Roof poles, or uni, which form the skeleton of the roof, running from the roof ring in the centre to the tops of the lattice walls.

Felt, or isegei, which covers the ger. It is tied on with ropes, and sometimes covered with animal skins for extra warmth.

Every family arranges their ger in the same way. This diagram shows where everything is in a ger:
A - posts supporting the roof
B - stove pipe out through roof
C - wood or dried dung for stove
D - bucket for water storage
E - saddle stand
F - airag bag on wooden frame
G - Buddha or family photos
H - stools in guests' seating area
 


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