Architecture, FRH, Travel Mongolia, Wooden Architecture
Living with Ot near  Khövsgöl lake For two glorious weeks in May we had a crack at being 'Yak Farmers'. We lived in a log house, cooked off the fire stove in the center, slept in the South and watched Korean soap operas on TV on the West side. That's for the layout. 'House nomads' just like the other nomads in Mongolia move 3-4 times a year. The only difference is that they own around 3 houses. One for summer, one for winter and one that serves them during spring and autumn. The summer spot by Ots was at the top of a hill with a beautiful log house hidden among larch trees. In the summer it gets too hot in such an enclosed area for yaks, that's why Ot and all her (nomad) neighbours move down the valley, to an open grassland. In the winter they head up the mountain, to more secluded spot with a big enclosed yak yard (to protect them from freeeeeeezing in the winter). The Bathtub and Reading Zone Plan of the log house resembles that of a yurt. Front door faces East, the kitchen area is to the right from the entrence, wood stove is placed in the center and the sacred zone it situated in front of the door. In the Ots house, just like in many others, it became the spot for TV (solar powered), blue ceremonial hadag and photos of family. Every morning, after milking the yaks, Ot would do an offering of fresh...

Moving with the reindeers

FRH, Travel Mongolia, Wooden Architecture
Who are Tsaatan People ? It took us a 7 days by horses from Khatgal to reach the Village.  In the forests of Taiga, hidden in the mountains separating Russia from Mongolia live the Tsaatan people – Those who have Reindeers. Originally coming from the Tuva Republic in Russia, they escaped from the soviet regime across the border. They were repeatedly deported back but in the 50s Mongolian government agreed to accept the reindeer families granting them Mongolian citizenships. At the same time – negdel - (pastoral collectives) were implemented . The state collectivized reindeers as they had with every other agricultural entity. The government tried to turn reindeer into a purely economic entity devoid of the spiritual meaning it held for centuries. The number of reindeer decreased, and then came the period of post-collectivization, when on the verge of XXI Tsaatan had to adapt to the open market economy. With little government support, no vets, limited goods exchange, marginalized by living on peripheries and limited by strict national park policies they keep on surviving. Seasonal migration : Summer – Autumn – Winter - Spring When we arrived in the village, 20 out of 30 families did already leave for the summer pastures. It was 3 pm, the remaining families arranged all their belongings next to the bare skeleton of their tent. Some reindeers were already tightly packed, with the folded canvas, stoves, buckets wrapped around their backs. Santa’s reindeers – with extra pipes on the sides. When the complete tent was packed, a chain of...

Khizi Island

Travel Russia, Wooden Architecture
Kizhi is an island on the lake Onega  in Republic of Karelia. It is home to one of the most remarkable examples of wooden architecture in the world. On the island you can find an inhabited wooden village, open air wooden architecture museum with structures brought from around Karelia and Kizhi Pogost – fenced area with two churches and a bell –tower –one of three places in Russia included  on UNESCO list of World Heritage. Aspen shingles - Gont osikowy - shines in the sun The Kizhi Pogost was built without single nail of thousands of Scots Pine logs and as legend claims the anonymous master carpenter built it with one ax that at the end he threw into the waters saying that nothing as beautiful cannot be built ever again.  A bit dramatic.   The main church - Church of Transfiguration is a masterpiece of carpentry and one of the most beautiful architectural piece we ‘ ve seen. With 22 domes it reaches 37 meters height.  The domes, of different size and shape are covered in aspen shingles – which reflect the light and makes them shine. The base of the church is an octahedral frame with four extensions. Most of the building has stone base without deep foundation. it's end of April and we are almost alone on the island naked architecture Often, wooden houses were supposed to resemble architecture of the city with its window ornamentation, doors and...