The Mongolian Ger, the large, white felt tent, is the traditional dwelling of the Mongols and, in general, that of nomadic people in Central Asia.
The Ger, perfected to meet the demands of a nomad’s life, is a circular felt covered dwelling with lattice walls that can be erected and dismantled within an hour. The materials of the ger are lightweight. That makes it easy for herders to transport the gers either on the back of a camel or yak or on a horse-pulled cart. But nowadays, trucks are more common.
The average weight of a ger is about 250kg without furniture. Usually, nomadic families move their gers four times a year. Maybe you can see nomadic families taking their gers and all their animals for ten kilometers to the several hundred kilometers in the end of spring, mid summer, beginning and end of autumn.
Gers are easy to assemble. The lattice work forms the wall and supports the long roof poles, which come together at the top. Toono, the small opening at the top, allows smoke to exit and air to enter. A herder can easily tell you what time of the day it is according to how the light comes through the roof.
Layers of felt are draped over the frame and covered with white cotton. Several ropes hold everything together. In winter, more layers of felt are added for warmth, while in summer, the bottom of the covers may be turned up for extra ventilation. They make their felt cover by themselves. Due to winds mostly from North and Northwest, the doors of the gers always face south.
Gers can be surprisingly comfortable. Some have a windmill generator or a satellite dish to beam TV directly into their ger in the distant areas.
The furniture inside a ger is arranged according to the years of the Lunar calendar in clockwise direction. For example, the khoimor is the most honoured place, and it is occupied by elders or other respected guests. The Western side is the male side, and thus it constitutes the sitting place for men and storage place for men’s tools, saddles, bows, and guns. The left side is the sitting place for the women, and it comprehends the storage area for cooking utensils, cradleboards and other women’s objects.
The center of the ger is the most sacred place of all, the gal golomt, the place of the fire. It is the dwelling place of the daughter of Father Heaven and it has to be treated with utmost respect.