Yurts used to serve Magyars (ancient Hungarians) as their shelters. It is part of our heritage that is still worth preserving in our memories. This article briefly sums everything up that you should know about yurts.
The yurt is a round tent with a cupola on its top. Its wooden frame is covered by felt. The felt was attached to wooden bars, therefore, it functioned as a stable “wall” of the yurt. The most significant advantage of this residence was that it was very easy to take apart – this way, the tribesmen could easily continue wandering and could stay mobile. They used to be the
homes of nomadic tribesmen, e.g. peoples of Central-Asia and Eastern-Siberia – Turks, Mongols, Magyars etc. used to live in them.
These peoples relied on their livestock in order to survive. So, they were constantly moving from one pasture to another to feed their cattle – seasonal climate changes forced them to move as well. They had to have different accommodations for the winter and the summer and constantly adapt to nature or enemy threat. This continuously moving lifestyle is the nomadic steppe. So,
being able to move rapidly if necessary was vital in our ancestors’ lives.
Hungarian children learn about this in elementary school, so they know that their ancestors arrived in the Carpathian Basin from the East and that they lived in yurts. To build a yurt, they had to have serious carpenter skills, especially at that time, because it was much more difficult than building a wooden house or a mud-hut. Yurts were used for surprisingly long in Hungary, until around 1301 – the dissolution of the Árpád dynasty. But some Hungarians continued nomadic lifestyle even further, until around 1400.
We only know about two versions of yurts: the Kazakh and the Mongolian. Kazakh yurts had curved slats on the roof, and this way, bigger space was provided inside. Our ancestors also built this model, but it took more experience, more time, and better skill to avoid mistakes. All the components had to be fumigated in order to bend them. The bars of the “kerege” (bar-wall) were also curved, so their joints were strong enough to hold the roofing.
Fortunately, we can see that yurts are becoming more and more popular and raise many people’s interest. Not long ago, yurt manufacturers and even yurt importers appeared. There are many yurt camps in Hungary, Slovakia, Transylvania (Szeklerland), and Ukraine (Transcarpathia) where adults and children can all see yurts and learn about them.