Mongolian Housing


 My Home


 Apartments in Ulaanbaatar


 Back to Homepage

My Living Arrangements

For the first three months I will be living in Ulaanbaatar with a family. Then I will be moving to my own ger in the steppes. You can look at other pictures on this site to get an idea of where I will be living, and I will send pictures of my actual home once I'm there. So, please check back later.

Back to top

Mongolian Gers(pronounced gair)

 Mongolians are nomadic and move about twice a year. In little more than an hour they can have the ger and all their possessions packed on camels ready to move. Gers are a lattice work structure covered in felt or canvas.

photo by Jorgen Bisch of Nat. Geo.

This is a ger being set up. The walls are unfolded, the support beams come out like spokes on a wheel. The beams used to all be brightly colored, but I'm not sure if that is still true. The door however is very intricately decorated in bright designs. Layers of felt, or animal hides, are added to the outside and lashed on. This structure comfortably protects one from the harsh wind and cold.

 Gers are often in small communities with several moving together.


 Some Mongolians will also choose to live in gers, or are forced to due to cost of apartments, outside small aimags(cities).  A ger in or near a city will have electricity, but no heat or water.

 There is also no plumbing.



at left and below, photo by Adrian Arbib and Benedict Allen

 Inside of ger shown at right.

 All gers are set up in the same way. This is the typical layout of a ger. The family portraits and religious icons are on the left of the picture and sit at the back of the ger. The stove sits in the middle of the ger, in the right corner in picture.{pg 35 in LP} .

 The average size is 18-20ft in diameter. The side walls are about 4ft high, but the center allows plenty of room to stand.




  In this picture you can see an outhouse(but I think it belongs to the other gers that are off to the left of this frame and not quite so far away). The small rock coral in the upper right is just to bring animals in for milking and other short term work. Nomads do not have stables in the American sense.

 photo by Melvyn C. Goldstein and Cynthia M. Beall

Back to top

Apartments in Ulaanbaatar

The Russians built up the apartment buildings. They use central heating which doesn't allow personal control, and often breaks down. I've been told that gers are far cozier. Still, about a quarter of the population of Mongolia lives in Ulaanbaatar.

photo by Adrian Arbib and Benedict Allen


Back to top

Tents of Reindeer Herders

They belong to a people of Mongolia called Tsaatans(who live in the forests). These only take moments to dismantle and load onto a reindeer. The poles are left behind, and new ones are cut from the forest at the next campsite. They look just like those of American Indians.

Back to top

~ calendar ~ where I am ~ general info ~

~ photo album ~ language ~ housing ~ food ~


Last Revised: May 3, 2000