Which is better, a downtown skyscraper or a riverside chalet? A room in a five-story Khrushchev building or a wooden house outside the city?
Modern people tend to improve their living conditions. However, many nations are happy in their national huts. “Around the World” shows what the most amazing dwellings in different countries look like.
Houses with sod roofs
Denmark, Iceland, Norway
Rooftops overgrown with green grass are a picturesque feature of Scandinavian villages. However, picturesqueness is not the main thing here: the turf that seals the wooden frame (usually made of birch bark) is an excellent protection from the cold. In Iceland, until the middle of the 20th century, not only roofs were built from turf, but also walls of houses with a stone foundation.
In the Apulian town of Alberobello, the unique, limestone-domed conical houses, skillfully built using the dry-stone method, are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Historically, they were built by peasants or shepherds from stones found in the field. Such a dwelling could be quickly dismantled before the visit of royal inspectors in order to avoid paying taxes. Today, similar houses are already being built using mortar.
Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia
Bajao “sea gypsies” spend almost their entire lives in the ocean, in houseboats. In one part of the house-boat they prepare food and store gear, and in the other part they sleep. Nomads go on land only to sell fish, buy rice, water and fishing tackle, and bury the dead.
The portable dwelling of the Chukchi is more complicated than the usual plague: a frame of long poles, tripods and poles, fastened with belts, is covered with deer and walrus skins. The space inside is divided into two parts: a utility room (chottagin), where a fire is lit, the smoke from which comes out through a hole in the dome, and a sleeping area (canopy) – a warm tent.
According to the myth of the Toraja people, the first tongkonan was built by a god in heaven. According to an alternative legend, the first Toraja who sailed to Sulawesi from the north suffered a storm, and the damaged boats were used as roofs for their houses. Allegedly, this is where such an amazing form of dwellings comes from. Tongkonans are traditionally folded without a single nail.
Photo: Legion-media, Photononstop, Alamy, Hemis (x4)
The material was published in the magazine ” Around the World” No. 5, May 2017, partially updated in June 2023