To build an ourtz

The Reindeer Riders of north Mongolia do not only survive one of the coldest winters on earth, but they do so in a teepee. How do you build one? Watch and learn.

Move: The Reindeer Riders or Tsaatan or Dukha call their home an Ourtz. It is made of larks poles, canvas and rope. During the year they take their ourtz from camp to camp, moving north in the spring and back south in the winter. A camp can consist of one family or as many as fifteen. Whenever a family moves they pack their belongings on reindeers, mount their animals and ride to the new location. Usually they have to come back once or twice to move all their belongings, but they build up the new ourtz on the same day.

Lark tree poles are left behind. Since the wood is so durable you can find poles anywhere in the taiga. Most of the time a family can just pick up the poles that are there and start building their ourtz.

Oltsan and Zaya had just come back from herding the reindeers for nine days in the wilderness. Here is how they built their ourtz.

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