Unpacking Cultural Heritage in Mongolia: The Image of the Mongolian Yurt (ger)

  • Ganchimeg Altangerel (Author)


Mongolians have lived and socialised in the Mongolian ger (yurt) for hundreds of years, leading a life closely connected to nature and exploring vast areas as nomads. But in present-day Mongolia the ger is associated with air and environmental pollution and has been scapegoated as the source of failures in urban development. The negative images of the ger in Mongolian society pertain to ideals of socialist modernism and current pollution, while positive images relate to cultural heritage and ethnicity, considering the ger as an intangible heritage, as the traditional dwelling of Mongolian nomads. Such a view tacitly turns it into an object for marketing, which exoticises its inhabitants. It seems that the ger has experienced a loss of value in the current debate. This article presents the specifics of the Mongolian ger and examines the different, diverging images of this traditional dwelling by examining the recent history of Mongolia.


Mongolia; ger; yurt; intangible cultural heritage; air and environmental pollution