From its pure white architecture to the expansive beaches, Mykonos is no stranger to touristic appeal. Accurately dubbed “The Island of Wind,” Mykonos is a Cycladic island with an air of magic whirling around it. Contributing to the island’s mysticism are the beautiful windmills perched atop Chora hill.
Harnessing the natural resource around the island, the windmills were constructed during the 16th century to grind wheat and barley. With Mykonos as an important trade stop, the windmills allowed for more production of a valuable export. As the significance of wheat export decreased, so too did the need for the windmills. By the mid-20th century, they were no longer active. Of the 30 once-in-use windmills, only 16 have been preserved as reminders of the innovative usage of wind energy. Seven of the them grouped together are named Kato Mili, these reside in the town of Mykonos on top of the hill: Chora. The renaming mills are located around Alevkantra, often referred to as “Little Venice.”
The windmills were constructed out of wood and the traditional Mykonos whitewashing limestone. There are three levels inside the mills, the grounds floor for storing cereal grain and the upper level for storing flour.
Only two of the renovated mills have been restored for public access. The Geronymos Mill – the oldest remaining mill – was privately acquired and renovated. There is now a jewelry shop operating where the mill’s storage used to be.
The Bonis Mill has become home to Mykonos’ Agricultural Museum, the renovation helped to preserve the authenticity of the original mill equipment. The museum is open from July to September during the evenings.
Roughly 200,000 tourists visit Mykonos each year, all of them stopping by the notorious whitewashed windmills aligned on the hill. With the mills no longer in operation, they stand as an aesthetically pleasing reminder of industry through the use of nature.