Powered by Wind: The Windmills of Mykonos

View of Six Windmills
Aerial View

Powered By Wind

One of them may be missing its roof and sails, but five appear ready to get to work. The ‘Kato Milli’, six windmills, are located at the foot of Mykonos Town’s Mill Hill like little island sentries. These days, even in strong gusts of wind, the three-storey sextet with its gleaming white facades remains motionless. While they once secured the islanders’ livelihoods, their main purpose today is ‘merely’ to look pretty — and that’s enough to be revered as the symbol of the Cycladic island.

Close up Windmills
View from Hill

Rusks For Sailors

The rise of electricity saw the windmills’ usefulness come to an end, although they did take on a new role in time: that of a friendly monument, reminiscent of economic drive. To this day, the windmills remain a symbol of the innovative spirit among locals, who harnessed the tremendous wind power to secure a stable income for themselves. Mykonos was also long considered the main supplier of ‘paximadi’, a kind of rusk. The dried bread, with its particularly long shelf life, served as an important source of carbohydrates for countless sailors.

Fresh Baked Bread
Sesame Bread

History At Your Fingertips

‘O Fournos tou Giora’ (Gioras Bakery), the most famous baker of this speciality, has preserved the traditional methods to this day, still baking bread and rusks in a wood-fired oven. Architecturally, the mills are characterised by their round shape with a pointed roof featuring small windows. The 12 wooden antennae each have a triangular sail made of the sort of heavy cotton fabric that is also used for sails on ships. Close by, the carefully furnished agricultural museum has an ancient stone wine press and other evidence of past labour on display.

View of Windmills

A Setting to Fall in Love With

In times gone by, local farmers would start making their way to the mills when the miller folded down one of the sails — the signal that the mill was in operation. These days, tourists mainly visit the famous mills to enjoy the view or in the hopes of taking a particularly atmospheric photo. The buildings’ gleaming facades offer a fantastic contrast to the deep blue sea — the perfect place to enjoy the fantastic views, especially at dusk.

Mykonos Tourism

Photo credits