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Yurt alert: Traditional tents make a comeback in Kazakhstan

Portable dwellings thrive as tourist attractions and emergency housing

Yurts have been used for over 2,000 years in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian communities as practical, simple and portable homes. They are now getting a new lease of life as a draw for tourists.   © Reuters

TALGAR, Kazakhstan -- The golden hues of autumn envelop the air, carrying a gentle nip, as I embark on a journey across Kazakhstan to Talgar, a picturesque town located around 40 kilometers from Almaty, a former capital close to the southern border with Kyrgyzstan.

With a sense of anticipation, I lean out of the car window, hoping to catch a glimpse of a traditional Kazakh yurt, reminiscent of the ones that sometimes featured in the enchanting Russian fairy tales of my childhood. To my disappointment, none appear against the backdrop of the snow-tipped Tian Shan mountains.

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