Boz Ui

A Boz Ui traditional nomadic felt dwelling, quickly assembled and also quickly disassembled by a few people. It is easy to transport. The felt covering keeps the rain, wind and cold at bay.

Boz uij or ‘grey house’. Nowadays, the felt used to make a boz ui is a quite white, but in the past it was undeniably grey. What are we talking about? About yurts, of course.  

The term yurt is something of a generic name and every country with a nomadic culture has its own name for the yurt, and ours is boz ui. A boz ui is the home of nomads. It must provide protection and accommodation in all weather conditions: rain, sun, frost or heat wave. You can assemble and dismantle a yurt within a few hours, so they were, and are, easy to move when the nomads have to move on because of the livestock. They are very solid, semi-permanent structures that families live in when their livestock graze on the surrounding pasture.

And as for that greyness, well, the inside of a true nomadic boz ui offers a surprising spectrum of decoration and colour. As soon as you step inside you are overwhelmed by the beauty of a real boz ui. The inside of the boz ui is very colourful and covered with carpets, furs, etc. In the centre of the roof of the boz ui is an opening that can be made to let in the light or the sun. The centrepiece at the top of the boz ui has a specific motif – the tunduk. This motif can also be found on the Kyrgyz flag.

The boz ui is quite small as a home for an entire family. To ensure that this coexistence runs as smoothly as possible, there are some rules that must be adhered to.For example, the right side of the boz ui is the women’s side. Here you find the stove which is used for cooking, and which keeps the yurt warm in the winter.The left side is for the men.They hang their clothes, shepherding and hunting equipment here.

Directly opposite the entrance of the boz ui there is usually a chest containing blankets and rugs. These are spread out at night on the floor and consist of shyrdaks, traditional Kyrgyz carpets. The place in the middle of the boz ui, directly opposite the entrance, is intended for the most important person in the group.  Often this is the guest’s seat. Everyone sleeps in the same room, so there is not much privacy. However, for newlywed couples, a curtain is sometimes hung in the boz ui.

At present more people live in villages than in boz ui, but many rural residents still move to the mountains in the summer months. During that period, they stay with their livestock, and often that of their family and neighbors, on the mountain pastures. In autumn they return to the villages and live in clay or stone houses, depending on their prosperity. However, there are many families who still have a boz ui in their yard that is used for festivities, to receive guests and for funeral rituals. The boz ui is and still remains, the symbol of the country.