Most of the island’s watermills can be found In the small valley near the village of Mylopotamos. There are a total of 23 watermills but only 3 have been well preserved to this day. All belong to private owners. The name of the village, Mylopotamos, which translates as “river of mills” in Greek, comes from the concentration of such mills. The Mylopotamos valley has the most fertile lands of the island and is the richest in terms of river and stream water. Water mills were used extensively during the British period and their owners were required to pay taxes in order to use them. These mills were used to mill grain. To increase the power the water was channeled and was further used to water nearby vegetable gardens. There was also a network of paths several kilometers long that connected the mills to each other. They were all abandoned in 1950, superseded by oil-driven mills.
In addition to the area surrounding Mylopotamos, Mills of this type can also be found in the valley of Ocheles (10 mills), the gorge of Tsakonas in Mitata, and the Karavas valley in Agia Pelagia.
ANATOMY OF A WATER MILL
- The watermill consists of:
- A tower to enable the flow of water from a sufficient height
- Milling room
- Customer reception area
- Owner’s house (mill operator)