It has been said that no trip to Greece is complete without visiting the windmills from Mykonos. I will have to agree with that statement, as the windmills look absolutely superb from any angle. Moreover, like most of the other attractions of the island, the windmills are one of the Mykonos landmarks and represent an impressive sight.
What Were the Windmills Used for?
Because of its location, Mykonos was situated on a major trade route. The grain production needed to be refined and compacted for the sea transport. Combine that with the winds that blow on Mykonos and the windmills were born. Since easy access to the harbor was necessary, the windmills were located right near the harbor and most of them were concentrated in the western part of the town. As the industrialization started to spread, the importance of the windmills declined and so did their number.
Once over 20 windmills existed on Mykonos and they have been used for grinding the agricultural products. All painted in white, circular, having a conical roof made of wood, their silhouette can be seen on the heights above Hora or near Alevkantra. They function and are brought to life by the wind that blows 200- 300 days a year.
Building near the mills was forbidden. A building would have caused unbalanced and unequal pressure of the wind on certain one-piece sails which in turn would have destroyed the whole rotating mechanism.
While they were used for grinding, the Upper Windmills of Hora and the mills that operated at Ano Meria served the residents of the local area and the country side, while the Lower Windmills of Hora (Kato Myloi) were traditionally involved in the grinding process of products that came outside the island.
The Lower Windmills are located southwest of Hora, right next to the sea. Today, only seven out of ten Lower Windmills have been preserved.
Today the mills aren’t used for grinding. They are still important for the historical heritage they carry. Some of them have been restored and now are museums (i.e. Bonis mill) while others have been restored and used and dwellings. The Windmill of Geronymos is still preserved remarkably. It used to operate until the 1960s and the mechanism is still preserved. The windmill is privately owned.
If you happen to take a ferry to arrive on Mykonos (or leave the island) don’t miss the view of the windmills from the sea. Although they look stunning from the street, the best view is undoubtedly little bit further from the coast.