Inside A Mongolian Ger: Everything You Need To Know

One of the most distinctive features of Mongolia nomadic life is Ger. If you’ve been to the country, you must be familiar with the term. But for those who don’t know, Gers (aka Yurts) are accommodation spaces for the Mongolian countryside population.

 In simple words, they are movable houses that are similar to tents (just a lot bigger in size). These tents style houses have everything that a modern-day one-room apartment has, but of a different kind.

From its shape to its decor and furniture inside, everything is unique and mesmerizing. To give you a glimpse of it, this blog has important information about a Ger.

A Little About the Background of Gers

Gers have been in Central Asia for over three thousand years. Although they have been abandoned in many parts of Asia now due to the changing culture yet surprisingly, many Mongolian nomads continue to live in them even today, mainly due to their uniqueness and ease of use. 

Nomads have to travel many times during the year in search of better pastures and weather for themselves and their livestock; since Gers are portable, they are best suited for such a lifestyle.

Structure of Mongolian Gers

Gers are structurally similar to Turkish Yurts, which is why both the names are used interchangeably.  They consist of a round structure that is made of walls, poles and peaked roof covered with felt and canvas. The entire structure is tightened with ropes made of animal hair or wool. 

Gers are portable, can be assembled and disassembled easily and are the most natural dwelling on Earth. The structure is the same throughout the country, with no windows and only one door. The interesting part is that these doors are always facing south and are painted orange or blue only.

So... What’s inside the Ger?

The Ger is an all-in-one space that serves as a kitchen, a living room, and sleeping quarters for the family. Most of the times, the northern side of the Ger is designated as the God’s side. You can see paintings and picture frames of Buddha, along with other religious stuff. The western side is usually called the bedroom, or the host’s side, as it has the host’s bed and closets. The left, or the eastern side, is called the hostess’ side as it has the kitchen that is used for both cooking and cleaning purposes. 

The toilet is located outside, and it’s nothing more than a hole in the ground covered with wooden or leather walls. Water is fetched using buckets for showering and washing dishes. 

Usually, there’s no concept of privacy in Gers. Staying in a Ger means you will have to sleep on mattresses on the floor with the whole family. Those families that are a little better off have two Gers; one is used for sleeping while the other one is used as a living room and kitchen. The living room is used to accommodate guests, allowing for a bit of privacy for everyone. 

The traditional Mongolian decor is simple and crude. Once you go inside you will find traditional, pattern-based decorations in these Gers. You will also find Mongolian fur rugs, as these nomads get an abundant quantity of fur from their livestock. If you’re lucky, you might also spot a Morin Khuur inside the Ger. It’s the national instrument of Mongolia.

The architecture and decore both are a fine example of minimalism and space-saving ideology. Yes, they are traditional home spaces yet they equally follow modern concepts as well. Cherry over the cake, Ger is highly appropriate to combat extreme weather conditions. Their shape and architecture serve as an ideal structure to keep the inside temperature maintained. Moreover, the cooking activity going on inside the Ger make it warn and perfect for extreme cold.

It can be said that the decor has its own feel that will transport you to the times of actual nomads. 

How to Behave Inside a Mongolian Ger?

There are certain rules that need to be followed inside a Ger. If you’re planning to visit one anytime, you should go through the rules properly as they are of utmost importance for the Mongolians.

When you enter the Ger, make sure you step inside with your right foot. Do not step on the threshold, or even touch it with your feet; just cross it with your right foot first and move towards the left side, because you’re supposed to move inside the Ger. clockwise. Most importantly, do not pass between the two central pillars.

Do not sit or stand near the beds. The host will invite you to sit with them; politely accept their invitation. It is recommended that you keep wearing your cap and do not carry any weapons inside the Ger. Moreover, do not stretch your legs - just sit with your legs crossed.

These are just some of the rules that you need to respect while visiting a Mongolian Ger. All in all, it can be a unique and exciting experience for you and your family!

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