The Khalkh Mongolians are nomads living in gers. Today's gers are the result of 2,000 years of history. They are collapsable and so light that they can be transported from one camp to the next on the backs of 2-3 camels, which until recently was the custom .
These days however, people resort more and more frequently to hiring small lorries instead . The size of a ger depends on the number of worm fences (4-5 on average, amounting to a diameter of 5-7 m). They are made of pliable wood and are tied to each other with ropes .
Next, the roof is erected and centred with the help of braces . To stabilize the tent during construction, a heavy object like a chest is suspended from the roof. (The same stabilization method is used to prevent the ger from collapsing during heavy storms).
The entrance to the ger consists of a framed wooden door always facing south . Walls and roof are covered with layers of material , felt blankets and, Finally, by a linen sheet. The latter can easily be washed and protects the felt layer from the rain . Finally, the construction is lashed together by several ropes made of yak and horse hair .
Visit to a ger
To visit a family of nomads is a highlight for foreign tourists visiting the Gobi. All tour operators offer such visits. In general, the nomad families are very hospitable and happy to welcome visitors. However to render the visit even more agreeable, visitors should follow some rules of conduct. For example, the visitor should know that it is not unusual to walk straight into a ger without knocking; however, it is impolite to tread on the doorstep. Usually, a member of the family will offer you milk-tea, some dairy products and biscuits. Visitors should at least try the offerings to show respect to the host's hospitality. Food and drink will be offered first to the person at the back of the ger and then to those sitting closer to the front, moving from one to the other towards the entrance. The tour guide or someone else will be happy to show the visitor the correct way to accept an offered snuff bottle. Visitors should not hesitate to leave some sort of gift to thank the h6 t for his hospitality. If visitors want to take photographs, they should ask first; usually people don't mind. However, it would be a nice gesture to send copies of the photographs once the visitor has returned home.