As you set foot to the harbor of Patmos island, you gaze up and admire the landscape. On top of the hills, three windmills stand tall and greet you warmly. These are the iconic windmills of Patmos. They have been operating for the past four centuries non-stop, at least two of them. These two were built in 1588 and the last one followed in 1863. Ever since, they have been the true power of the island and its people.
Used to grind wheat and turn it into flour, the windmills were essential to the islanders. All the locals respected their function and they even named a settlement after them. Mili is the Greek name for Windmills. And the strong winds blowing on the island made these solid constructions work full speed. All that changed in the 1950s, when electrical power took over. So the windmills of Patmos were abandoned. They were not necessary for the survival of the locals, after all.
The initiative of reviving the windmills came from Charles Pictet. He was a banker with genuine love for the island of Patmos. Once he saw the windmills, he found inspiration. And he fought for the restoration, along with various contributors. Funding came from different sources, among which the famous Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
Now the windmills of Patmos have changed their use, always maintaining their special charms and unique character. The one windmill is a museum. Organic flour is ground there, with the milling process open to the public. The second windmill turns wind power into electricity. A contemporary use that benefits the island, for sure! And the third windmill focuses on water.
The windmills of Patmos are splendid attractions, offering not only stunning views from above, but also reminding everyone of the past. A past that is not isolated from the present. Instead, it is unified and shapes the future for the island of Patmos!