The “Ruka” was designed to protect the Mapuches from the strong winds and harsh winters of the Andes Mountains, in Southern Chile. There are very few existing Rucas still accessible.
Some Mapuches do presently live in this type of dwelling, but are found only in remote areas where they still practice traditional Mapuche customs.
The fundamental nucleus of the Mapuche family used to live in a ruka that was made of straw and mud, oval in shape with a conical rectangular roof. In the center of the housing a fire was always burning.
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