Some of the most photographed landmarks of this famous island are definitely Mykonos windmills. For many years, these interesting windmills have been known as the symbol of the island and the Cyclades in general. It’s not an accident that they became such an important part of the island’s culture. Here is everything you need to know about these iconic objects.
Being one of those magnificent landmarks that are known as the symbol of the entire area, these famous mills have a rich history behind them. During the history of Mykonos, windmills were built and used for centuries to grind grain, primarily wheat and barley, into flour.
This was an important part of the culture of the local community on this windy island, as flour was often used as monetary compensation. The first ones were constructed by the Venetians sometime during the 16th century. The locals continued building these constructions until the beginning of the 20th century.
There are currently sixteen windmills that have survived to the present day. There used to be more of them. However, throughout history, some of them were demolished. Seven of them are located in the town center, in Chora, and can be visited by the public. The rest of them are either in ruins or privatized and turned into accommodations.
Six of them are located on the strip, high above the pretty district of Little Venice, but only five of them are fully renovated. The group of those five mills is collectively known as lower windmills, in Greek “Kato Myloi.” While the seventh one, Boni’s Windmill, is part of the Agricultural Museum. There is also one in the village of Ano Mera. Below, you can learn more about the history of these mills and their function.
This iconic site and important attraction is located in the heart of the island, the center known as Chora, where all the best bars and the best restaurants are located. Being in such a central location, they are easy to reach from all towns on the island. Most people who travel to this destination choose to stay in Chora as there are plenty of things to do there, and it’s always super fun.
If you’re located in another area, consider getting a bus to the main station, Fabrika. From there, it will take you only a few minutes to get to the famous mills. If you are not a fan of public transportation, you can always consider getting a taxi or even renting a private car. Whatever suits your preferences. You can take a ten-minute walk to the Agricultural Museum from the lower windmills to visit the seventh one.
The mills were built in a circular shape and as three-story buildings. Locals built them from stone and wood, typical materials that were incorporated into traditional Mykonian architecture. Their spectacular architecture has made them highly durable, even in the most demanding conditions.
The roof was made out of wood with a firm wheel mechanism. The sails were made out of cotton fabric, in the same technique that Greeks used for the ship’s sails. The wind gave power to the sails, which passed it onto the grinding stone, which then turned grain into flour. The ground floor was used for weighing services and storage.
The oldest one on the island dates back to the 18th century and is allied to Geronymos Mill. Ever since it was built, it was in constant operation until the 1960s. Today, it is fully renovated and still contains the inner mechanisms for grinding flour. Though it is not open to the public and visitors on the inside, you can admire its exterior.
There are a few small local shops in its storage area, one for jewelry and one for traditional souvenirs. You can also experience a magnificent view over Little Venice from here. The best time to visit this popular site is during the evening hours. The sunset view from this spot is incredible, and that will be the most beautiful golden hour you will ever experience.
Just below this windmill is a picturesque neighborhood like no other, one of the most popular areas known as Little Venice. This place is known for being a perfect Instagram spot, filled with plenty of seafood restaurants where you can try some of the famous local dishes. This area is a popular historical spot as well, and there are plenty of things to do, such as:
Located on the edge of the town at Apono Mili, within the main port, a historic mill was turned into an outdoor museum during the 20th century. Boni’s windmill is part of the Agricultural Museum, which presents the history of agriculture and food production on the island.
Boni’s windmill is a centerpiece of the museum, which is in full working order. You can visit it from June to September, in the evening hours, from 4 pm to 8 pm. Here you will be able to learn much more about the culture of the locals and the island’s history.
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