Blog Stories & News about Kyrgyzstan

Life at shepherds' yurts in Kyrgyzstan

A Yurt, traditional adobe of nomads, may be still found in Kyrgyzstan from spring to autumn. And you will see a lot of them during your trip around the country. While some provide shelter to local shepherds, other yurt camps are built to host local and foreign tourists. This time

Every year at the end of May, the life of the Susamyr's nomads starts in their Yurt, a traditional tent for the Kyrgyz people.

The habitation is composed of wooden construction and covered with skin, felt, or handwoven textiles in bright colours. The roof is made of a wooden circular frame that forms the Kyrgyz flag. On the inside, you can find colourful rugs, decorated with geometric or animal patterns on the floor and a table, the only and most important furniture in the Yurt.

The reason for living in a yurt is specially to feed their animals ‚ horses, sheeps and cows- and after summertime, to sell the milk and the wool. At the end of August, they leave the yurt - life to go back to their hometowns. The nomads are well known for their hospitality. When visitors come by they feel like it's their home.

Each region of Kyrgyzstan has its own specific habits. Hospitality traditions vary from region to region. And your experience depends on the region, which you decided to visit. If you get invited, you can expect a warm reception.

Before entering the yurt take off your shoes and leave them in front of the yurt.

In order to show respect to the guests, the host offers the guest to sit at the top of the table, opposite side of the yurt's entrance. This is the main place in the yurt, where honourable guests are seated.

The kumys is the best drink to refresh the traveller. So it's usually offered as the first treatment.

While the table is set, the father of the family discuss with guests about their trip and interests in their next plans, offers his advice and help. Hosts are interested in their guests, their personal stories and home countries.

The bread ("nan" in Kyrgyz) has an honourable position among meals and it's the first meal offered to the guest. The hosts respect their guests and serve them all they have at the current moment. Numerous fresh dairy products, bread, jams are served during the occasional visit. Tea is served the whole time. The sign of honour is to serve the tea just in half of the tea bowl. It's the sign of honour and the way to serve the guest with hot tea.

The dinner ends with the "omin" ceremony, which is the appreciation for served food.

Guest are usually offered to stay for a night and take a rest before their next journey.

The hosts at shepherd's (non-touristic) yurt camp usually do not accept the payment for their services. But you can respond to their hospitality with a small present, which can become valuable for them.
Yurt camps that provide the services to tourists will charge a fair price, but the comfort is significantly higher.

Night in the yurt is an unforgettable experience authentic for Kyrgyzstan, which you should try during your visit. If you really want to experience the spirit of this country you should join this adventure!

But be careful with the cold, don't forget about your sleeping bag.

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