A Gur (Yurt) has been a distinctive part of nomadic living, especially to Central Asia for at least three thousand years. Perhaps one of the most famous men in history, Genghis Khan, was known for describing a number of significant events related to Yurts.
These large round spaces were designed to be easily moved. They were simple in design yet sophisticated in the build. A yurt is made out of wooden and felt structures and would have provided spaces for cooking, cleaning and a communal area for an entire family away from the harsh elements outside. Tradition meant that the western side was considered the male dwelling whilst on the eastern side, women would work and live. Despite this cultural divide, they would have all shared the heat from a wood burning stove, with a long-reaching chimney.
Recently, I was lucky enough to stay at Hidden Valley Yurts, based in a quiet valley consisting of 80 acres of land in South Wales. There were 5 original Mongolian yurts, each hand painted by just one person! The attention to detail was fascinating. I adored the original features such as a Mongolian bed (dubbed the princess bed by younger guests) and my oh so comfortable dwelling for the week.
Each morning, the light-flooded in by a skylight, a natural prompt to explore the new day. The opening also allowed the burner's smoke to escape. It was probably one of my most favourite features. There’s something calming about being woken up by the sun and guided off to sleep by the moon. My body felt in sync with the natural rhythms of Mother Nature.
The gentle curves of our yurt’s space encouraged us to all sit together and talk until the small hours of the morning, whilst sharing the warm glow from the fire. With no TV, limited phone signal and any other modern-day distractions. It was a chance to just switch off, be in the moment and get back to basics with our natural surroundings and fellow humans.
Something we all need a bit more of and often.
I feel that our modern homes with man-made materials, dividing walls and doors seem to cut us off entirely from the natural world, and can disconnect us with those only next door. I'm thankful that Yurts like these are still around to enjoy and help to give us a fresh perspective on just how important communities have been and always will be.
For glamping in the Wye Valley visit: www.hiddenvalleyyurts.co.uk