The Mykonos windmills are an iconic symbol of the island’s past and present. They were originally built by the Venetians in the 16th century to grind grain, and were later used to mill wheat and other crops by local farmers. Today, the windmills have become a popular tourist attraction and are a must-see sight when visiting Mykonos. There are currently 16 windmills on the island, with the most famous ones located in the area of Chora. The whitewashed structures with their distinctive pointed roofs and wooden sails stand proudly atop the hill overlooking the sea, offering a stunning panoramic view of the town and the Aegean Sea. The windmills are a reminder of the island’s rich cultural heritage and are a testament to the ingenuity of the Mykonian people in harnessing the power of the wind to improve their way of life.
Here are some unique facts:
- The windmills were designed to have a north-facing entrance to protect the machinery from the strong southerly winds.
- The Mykonos windmills were constructed with white-washed stone to protect the grain from the sun and to help keep the interior cool.
- Each windmill had a distinct name, usually given after the name of the owner, such as Bonis, Geronymos, and The Tria Pigadia.
- The windmills were functional until the mid-20th century, with the last one ceasing operation in the 1960s.
- The windmills have served as a backdrop for many films, music videos, and photo shoots, including the famous scene from the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only.”
- The windmills have been designated as a preserved historical monument by the Greek government since 1989, and are protected by law from any alteration or demolition.
- One of the windmills has been converted into a museum, showcasing the tools and equipment used in the milling process and providing a glimpse into the island’s agricultural past.