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Bo Zui, aka Yurt

Behold the boz ui - traditional Kyrgyz housing - a marvelous culmination of creativity, intelligence, and art. 

It has a long historical background, dating back to 1000 B.C.E. among nomads of Central Asia.  Nomads lived in tribes and changed their locations with seasonal changes in order to find new fields for their livestock. Thus, they made their housing in a way that it is easy to carry and move, fast to build and dismantle, and fits all family members and items.

It’s construction is 100% from natural materials, such as wood, felt, and yarn.  The wooden frame is always colored in red, a practice that comes from the past, when clay was used to seal the wood against moisture that would create warping.  Nowadays, much of the interior is designed with bright colors, which creates a positive mood and energy. Large felt wraps in natural gray or white colors are fabricated by the women as coverage for the frame. 

The uniqueness of the felt wrap is that it’s warm and cozy, both in summer and winter. The thick felt is sometimes covered by plastic during extreme rain, but the felt alone is able to repel most light rain and retains warmth inside the yurt during cold nights.  Shyrdaks that hang on the inside of the yurt and cover the floor colorfully depict images that represent things such as deer, flowers, women with children, waterfalls, birds, and mountains.  

It is possible to transform fresh air and energy through the “tunduk” the circular crown on the top of the yurt in which all of the roof beams are joined. You can see the sky full of stars or the shining sun by just opening the coverage. Tunduk holds a strong symbolic value in Kyrgyzstan, and can be seen on the flag, on gates, and prominent in architecture and other designs. It's cross beams weave together and create 4 distinct sections, which represent the 4 seasons.  The tunduk holds the yurt together, as in flag it's the union of 40 tribes together as the Kyrgyz nation.

Making boz ui represents the unity within the tribes, as erecting or dismantling boz ui requires several people. Usually men made the frame and women took care of the design and insulation quality. Making process is considered to be very positive and fun because mixed generations work together to contribute in making their house. Yurt building and making is a separate art industry which requires wood construction abilities, sewing skills, and design knowledge. The amazing thing is that almost everyone knows how to make it as families have kept using the house through generations.

Jyldyz Apyshova

Assistant Editor and Social Media Manager @ White Leopard Travel Co.

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