Extract

Travels with my Yurt

The traditional tent of Central Asian nomads is a pleasure dome fit for the gods, says Tim Beddow

Sleeping close to nature is always a thrill, a privilege, almost – the crickets, the birds, the wind, early-morning dew… So it was with great excitement that I made a discovery in Gloucestershire. In this rural part of western England a workshop set up by Hal Wynne-Jones is making yurts, the ancient yet sophisticated tents of the nomads of Central Asia.

“The yurt,” maintained the traveller Gustav Krist, “is unquestionably one of the greatest inventions Asia has brought forth. Its circular structure and dome-like roof combine maximum structure with extraordinary stability.” The old Kırgız proverb, “A man’s tent is like a god’s temple”, may be a slight exaggeration, but to stay in a yurt does somehow touch one’s primitive nature – here is a dwelling that is so effective it has needed no redesign in many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. The yurt is still in use over a vast area, east from central Turkey and southern Russia to Outer Mongolia and Siberia.

Hal Wynne-Jones has passed his yurt making skills on to enthusiasts around the world.
Contact Turkman Gers on +44 (0)1452 771 212

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