Living history of the island.
One of the most curious architectural features of the landscape of Formentera, besides its famous lighthouses, are the mills, an essential feature of peasant life in the past when the main means of subsistence was what the countryside provided.
The presence of mills is linked to the importance of wheat on the island of Formentera. This cereal was a staple food for the population. But in order to make bread it was necessary to grind the grain and turn it into flour, a process that was originally carried out with the so-called “blood mills”, which used animals to turn the millstone. They were relatively small and would be located somewhere near the house. But in the 18th century the construction of other larger mills began, using a more complex system and driven by the force of the wind, thus allowing a greater yield.
Seven windmills came into operation on Formentera to grind grain: the Molí Vell and Molí d’en Botigues, located in La Mola; the Molí d’en Teuet and Molí de ses Roques, near Sant Ferran; the Molí d’en Mateu and Molí d’en Jeroni, to the west of the church of Sant Francesc, and the now abandoned Molí d’en Simon, in Es Cap de Barbaria. They all share the same type of construction and mechanism, characterised by a cylindrical tower and six blades.
Their simple cylindrical shape with a conical roof is divided into three floors: an upper floor where the gears are located, a central floor where the flour is obtained, and a ground floor that served as a storage area. Of all of them, the best preserved is the Molí Vell, a good place to visit during the summer months as it is possible to enter the restored interior to learn more about the operation of these mills.