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     Kazakh National house YURTA; (NOMAD'S TENT)

Despite the unification of the Kazakh lands in 16-18 centuries no houses were built in the steppes to serve on a permanent basis due to the continuous hostilities with the khanates, forays and raids now and then made by the Jungars. During these times very much spread were mobile forms of housing. According to written sources, in the past the Kazakh people used to make wheeled types of houses which did not reach our days. They were covered with felt and woven of twigs and rods. Up to 22 bulls used to be harnessed to it. There were also huge mobile tents with stiff wooden framework. They were driven by a harness of numerous camels. Unlike yurtas, these houses were not disassembled during migrations and, for that reason they shortly got out of use.

A Kazakh yurta called kiyiz ui refers to the Turkic type of dismountable trellis-and-felt housing structures and it is the best mobile house. The Kazakh were nomadic people they often had to dismount their yurtas to move them to another place and erect them there again. A yurta fas a hemispheric shape designed to resist to hurricanes, rain, snow storms and drifts. It consists of beautifully shaped folding trellis walls called kerege, dome-like pole -uwyks and the top hoop - shanyrak. All this structure is tied around with ropes and strips of carpet. On the sides it is covered with four tuyrlyks, and above them - by two uzuks and a tunduk (all are felt coverings) which serve as the walls and a roof of the house well preserving the inhabitants from bad weather.
From times immemorial Kazakhs honored a white yurta - ak ui that was considered a symbol of wealth and well-being. It contained from 8 to 12 kerege (trellis walls) set up in a round, about 140-150 uwyks (dome-making poles), twice more than in a common yurta.
A white yurta used to be covered with white felt, upholstered with matting, and on the top where it was connected with uwyks, it was covered with a wide trip of carpet called baskur. All possible strings, suspended decorations and furnishings like tangysh, shanyrakbau, arkan, jelbau etc. were compulsory attributes of a Kazakh yurta. Yurta doors were decorated with fine carvings, bone encrustation and paining, sheltered by a felt covering.
Having just entered a yurta a person found himself in a unique realm of ornament. Various carpets rugs, pillows appeared before the person's sight. In another end of a yurta the hosts normally arranged a fireplace by putting a tripod with a boiling pot for cooking. In a front yurta for guests there was a round dining table. At the entrance on the left-hand walls an onlooker could see attributes of harness and instruments for falconry hunting. A little bit farther in the room one put a wooden bed - tosegash for a newly married couple with bed curtains for privacy. Nearby the tosegash one put felt or carpeted cases called karshyn and ten respectively which were used for storing household wares. The cases were usually mounted on two or three supporting plates. On the cases the family often put two or three chests called abre which were covered over with blankets, pillows to demonstrate the family's wealth. To the right of the entrance the hosts put asadal- a sectional closet for crockery, dishes, cloths, napkins; kebezhe - a bin for foodstuffs; kitchen wares. Nearby, on the walls the hosts hung on-wall bags called ayakkap for crockery and dishes, terkesh - casing for piala-bowls.
Social position of Kazakhs could be told by the yurta-houses they lived in:

  • A white yurta, ak ui, was honorable and looked prosperous.
  • A common yurta was covered with a dark-color felt and thus was called kara ui (black house).
  • Smaller yurtas were put up for newly-married couples and were called otau ui.
  • Mobile camping yurtas were called zholama ui.
  • Kos - is a house for shepherds

    More information:
    Kazakhstan [ RUS ENGL ]
    Welcom to Kazakhstan [ RUS ENGL ]
    The central State museum of Republic of Kazakhstan [ RUS ]
    Balkhash city history and economy museum [ RUS ]
    State museum of arts named after A. Kasteeva [ RUS ]
    Pavlodar history and economy museum named after G.N. Potanin [ RUS ]
    Mangistau history and economy museum [ RUS ]
    Archaeology Museum attached to Archaeology institute named after A.Kh. Margulan [ RUS ]
    People's musical instruments Museum named after Ykhlas [ RUS ]
    Archaeological museum of Kazakh State University [ RUS ]
    Historical museum of Kazakh State University [ RUS ]
    Biological museum of Kazakh State University [ RUS ]
    Republic of Kazakhstan National currency Museum [ RUS ]
    Aktobe Regional history and economy museum [ RUS ]
    Kostanay Regional history and economy museum [ RUS ]

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