Windmills play an integral part of Maltese history. It is said that there were some 69 of them around the islands, dating as far as the 17th century. It was the Knights who built the first prototypes as back as 1530. Machinery has now made the miller’s hard work obsolete, but the mills remain as a testament to what was once an important economic contributor to our country. It is said that at some point, Malta had more windmills per capita than the Netherlands!

  • Xewkija, Gozo

    Location

    Xewkija, Gozo

  • European Regional Development Fund

    Fund

    European Regional Development Fund

  • Protection, development and promotion of public cultural heritage assets

    Programme

    Protection, development and promotion of public cultural heritage assets

  • €500,000

    Cost of Project

    €500,000

  • €377,011

    Total EU Allocation

    €377,011

Despite being built over a span of three centuries, most of the windmills have a similar building plan. This consists of a tower, surrounded by a stone squarish building, consisting of two rooms for storing grain and flour. Additional rooms were then available for the miller and family, accessed through some 50 circular steps.

One of the most iconic of such windmills is found in Xewkija, Gozo. Ironically, it is the only one with a tower built on an octagonal base and was commissioned by Grand Master Ramon Perellos. It started milling wheat in 1710 where it remained in use until 1965, then falling into disrepair.

Abandoned for more than 50 years, the building was scheduled for a significant restoration project, costing some half a million euro, mainly financed through EU funds. The process involved a massive facelift to the outside of the structure, including the  hanging of concrete ceilings with traditional stone beams and the cleaning of the milling stones.

The mill’s mechanism was rebuilt from scratch as the original machinery had been destroyed in a fire during the 1920s. Most importantly, the windmill got its beautiful, large sails back.

The project also catered for the visitor experience, with the creation of a square around the building and new public convenience facilities in the vicinity. Such is the space offered in this unique building, that besides welcoming visitors, it can now  be used to host traditional folklore events, seminars and discussions.

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