Turkmen yurt and its interior

Country: Turkmenistan
The yurt made by Tajmurad Mukhamedov in 2008. Design - by Gulnara Mamedova, Mary province, Daikhan Birleshik, 2017

Yurt is one of the dwellings of the Turkmen. This yurt was very practical, easy to use and irreplaceable portable dwelling of cattle breeders. Yurt is very ancient type of dwelling. There were always craftsmen among the Turkmen who specialized on producing the wooden frame of the yurt. It was made from hardwood—oak, willow tree and poplar. Yurts made from pistachio tree were especially valued, since they could be used without maintenance for more than 50 years.

For thin tree trunks to take the needed shape, they had to be fresh. If the wood to be used was dry, it had to be soaked in the water for certain period of time, to acquire needed flexibility and resilience. Carcass of the yurt usually consisted of four or six wooden lattice-wings. The Turkmen yurt is round shaped. Its dome is made of couple dozen poles, tied on top. Dome shaped upper part of the yurt was covered by felt. Walls of the yurt were also covered by waterproof felt sheets. In traditional yurt, every item of the household had its own place. The yurt was usually erected on higher ground. The floor was covered by colourful felt rugs and napless woven woolen carpets. In the majority of Turkmen yurts, women’s part of the yurt was to the right of the entrance. It was full of kitchenware, sleeping gear, various bags and household items. Men’s part was the left side of the yurt. It had bags with provisions and supplies, weapons, horse harness etc.

Master Tajmurad Mukhamedov is costructing the yurt, Mary province, Daikhan Birleshik, 2017

Opposite the entrance, on the frame of the yurt, one could find pretty bags made from tapestry (gyzylchuval) for keeping clothes. On upper part of the frame, there were many smaller size bags for different purposes (for keeping spoons, salt and other valuables). Instruments were kept in a bag with tassels. Saddle bags from tapestry (chuval, torba, hordjun) inside the yurt had decorative function too. Bags from tapestry for household needs could be found in any yurt, regardless of the material wealth of the family.

Central part of the yurt, opposite the hearth, was for guests and had big carpet on the floor. In accordance with the custom, after certain period of time, past the wedding, the young couple would be set apart from parents. A new yurt would be erected to form a separate household. Acquisition of the new yurt was an important event and was followed by festivities.

Rich interior decoration (lots of carpets and tapestry), use of reed screen, other mounting technique differentiates the Turkmen yurt from other types of Central Asian yurts. People have retained special affectionate attitude towards the yurt.