Tinos Windmills

The traditional windmills of Tinos Greece, Cyclades: A drive around Tinos will bring you to many architectural and artistic treasures of folk art. Fine examples of the local architecture are the many windmills scattered in the weathering hills of Tinos. The first windmills were established during the Venetian occupation and there was an immediate need for their construction as the locals extended quickly their cultivated areas.

In many cases, the daily needs required the extensive use of the windmills as the island used to export flour during the years of the Greek Revolution (early 19th century). During the Second World War, the millers of Tinos would often put their own lives into danger by grinding flour late at night, as it was considered illegal by the Nazi troops to keep food and not give it to the foreign army. The windmills were usually circular in shape and were built near streets and crossroads to make flour transport easier.

The windmills usually consisted of three floors, the ground level, the middle level and the attic where the actual grinder was. Also, the construction of the wooden mechanism demanded a great deal of knowledge and skill. The large wheel had to be pinned on the shaft that was usually made of cypress wood, while its brier cogs had to fit perfectly into the metal spindles of the spinning wheel. The whole mechanism had to fit properly in order to point the sails in the direction of the wind.

The last remaining owners of the windmills are thought to be the best amateur meteorologists on the island, with many years of experience in forecasting weather. Windmills stopped functioning in the 1950s but few of them remained active until the 1980s. Today, most of them are deserted or completely ruined. Others have been reconstructed as houses and hotels.

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