How much do you know about the Mykonos windmills? Why do you think they’re important for the island’s cultural identity? Here is a short history of the windmills, including their construction and their significance for the island. Get to know these amazing landmarks through this blog, so you can appreciate the structures more when you actually visit them. Take a look.
History of Mykonos Windmills
Mykonos is known around the world by its nickname – The Island of the Winds. That is because this Greek island has plenty of quite distinct winds that give it its charm. Since the 16th century, these winds have been used for powering windmills and utilizing winds like the powerful “Meltemi.” These windmills produced flour from wheat and barley, which was then given back to the farmers. It was a great example of how technology can give back to the community. Although it cannot be confirmed, locals say that there used to be about 28 windmills in the area.
Sailors’ Favorite Stop
Of course, it’s not only the locals who enjoyed the windmills’ quality flour. Namely, the island became famous for its special type of bread called rusk. Sailors loved this bread, because it was dry and could be preserved for months. That was great for long months on the sea. There are a couple of bakeries that still stick to the traditional recipes and make this historically important bread even today. Most of them keep their methods secret, but the old wood ovens are a must.
Decline of Popularity
Despite the strong winds and the potential for harvesting them, the windmills slowly became less and less popular with the arrival of electricity. By the late 19th century, the traditional flour production came to a complete stop. Nowadays, out of the alleged 28 windmills, there are only 16 left. Of course, they’re all renovated to preserve their longevity and attract tourists.
The reason why these structures are still so interesting to the tourists is their architecture. Mykonos windmills are in a spherical shape, made out of stone and wood.The inhabitants painted these three-story structures in white to fit in with the rest of the island houses. This says a lot about their sense of island aesthetics. When you observe the appearance of these windmills against the blue sea and clear skies, you can easily understand its beauty.
Famous Windmills You Should Visit
If you want to see this amazing sight for yourself, you can go to the Kato Mili where 7 out of 16 windmills are located. We would recommend visiting two of them – the oldest Geronymous Mill, and Bonis Mill, which is a part of the Mykonos Agricultural Museum.
- Geronymous Mill was built around the year 1700 and continued to be in use for many centuries after. Some say that the production carried on until the 1960s, making it one of the oldest and longest running mills on Mykonos.
- If you want to see the traditional process of milling, Bonis Mill is your best option. This renovated structure can show you exactly what the mills looked like back in the days. You can also see the entire milling process. You get a chance to experience the old days through this full-access visit to the Bonis Mill.
Once you visit all these mills and learn to appreciate the beauty of the island, it’s time to enjoy the Mykonos nightlife. If you want to experience the real thrill of the island, visit the amazing Porta Bar, try one of our cocktails, meet some new friendly people, or just get to the dancefloor. We will be waiting for you.