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Kiız Üi



Photo by WAYNE EASTEP, Sarasota Magazine, 2017

A yurt or Kiız Üi in Kazakh, a portable dwelling utilized by the Kazakh and Kyrgyz communities, consists of a wooden circular frame covered in felt and secured with ropes. It can be easily constructed and taken apart in a short amount of time. Craftsmen, both male and female, possess the expertise in yurt-making, producing yurts and their interior decorations.


Yurts are crafted using natural and renewable materials. Men and their apprentices handcraft the wooden frames, incorporating wooden, leather, bone, and metal elements. Women create the interior decorations and exterior coverings, adorned with traditional zoomorphic, vegetative, and geometric patterns. Typically, they work in community-based groups under the guidance of experienced female artisans, employing weaving, spinning, braiding, felting, embroidering, sewing, and other traditional handicraft techniques.


The creation of a yurt involves the entire community of craftsmen, promoting shared human values, productive collaboration, and imaginative creativity. Traditionally, knowledge and skills are passed down within families or from mentors to apprentices. All important events such as festivities, ceremonies, births, weddings, and funerals take place within a yurt. Therefore, the yurt symbolizes family and traditional hospitality, playing a vital role in the cultural identity of the Kazakh and Kyrgyz peoples.


© UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage