пятница, 29 ноября 2013 г.

“Qara uy” or Karakalpak yurts

“Qara uy” or Karakalpak yurts

I think everybody knows what is a yurt if you don’t know you may find its explanation nearly in all dictionaries. One of them has this explanation: “Yurt- a large round tent used especially by people in Central Asia”.

Yes, maybe some people in Europe and America may imagine yurts when talking about Central Asia. Yurts were used by all the Central Asian nations in the past as these nations were nomadic and half nomadic many centuries ago. A yurt was a very comfortable and easy-built house for nomadic people. Because it doesn’t take much time to built or to pick up and a camel can carry it.

Karakalpaks were half nomadic people in the past. Like their neighboring nations, their main activities were cattle-rising, agriculture and fishing. Karakalpaks had to move to one place to another as they needed new grasslands for their cattle and fertile lands to grow crops. At such times yurts were very comfortable living place. It was cool in summer and warm in winter.

Karakalpaks used sheep wool to make felt for yurts.

 It has an open circle roof and it is called “Shanaraq”. The shan’araq can be opened and closed. The shanaraq of a Karakalpak yurt is considered to be more solid than that used in the Turkmen or Qazaq yurt. The word "shan’araq" also has the meaning "family" in Karakalpak language. Maybe this is because a whole Karakalpak family lived under that roof “shan’araq”.

In modern life of Karakalpaks, yurts don’t have actual role as in past. Nearly all Karakalpaks nearly stopped using yurts as the development of new society in middle of 20th century. However, there some type of people who still use yurts to live in. They are herders who herd and look after thousands of ship, goats, cows, horses and camels. They have to move often to different places to find new grasslands for their herds. So yurts are still the only comfortable and compact living place for them.

Yurts also can be used as an attractive object in hotels, restaurants, cafes etc. for visitors. Many hotels and cafes offer a delicious Karakalpak dinner table inside a yurt for guests. There are also yurt camps near historical monuments like Fortress Ayaz Qala. These yurt camps are organized to make impression of true traditional Karakalak life for tourists.

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