Yurts are the ancient invention of nomadic tribes that live in Central Anatolia in the West and stretch to the furthest reaches of Mongolia in the East. Yurts are far more substantial than the tents of most nomadic peoples.
Made from poplar poles and warm felts and held together by tent bands that circumscribe the tent like the staves of a barrel, a yurt can weigh a full two thousand pounds. Sill, a yurt can be broken down in a few hours, transported by two camels, and re-assembled (usually by women) in a half day.
After spending nights in yurts in Bamyan (before the Taliban destroyed the gigantic Buddhas there) and Mazar-i-Sharif, Emmett and Natasha Eiland imported an authentic Turkmen yurt from northern Afghanistan in the early 1980s.
This yurt was once the home of a Turkmen family living near Adqoi, and it came furnished with tent bands, straps and various felts and bags. Over the years it has been displayed in the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and in several other Bay Area venues in connection with exhibitions of Oriental rugs. In addition, from time to time it has been exhibited at Emmett Eiland’s Oriental Rug Company in Berkeley.
There is something strangely peaceful about time spent in a yurt. Its walls wrap so comfortably around. As you gaze at the stars through its open top, it is almost impossible not to imagine yourself living in the time of Marco Polo or Genghis Khan.