Harju – Rätsepa post mill

Tuuliku, Harju küla

A post mill with a classic wooden structure. The base of the mill is made of rocks without binder. The mill has a board roof covering and its body has horizontal boarding. It was built in the second half of the 19th century. Two post mills have been preserved in Harju village (Nõmme and Rätsepa).

Harju-Rätsepa windmill was restored by Emmaste local government in 2001. It is a typical post windmill of Hiiumaa.

Windmills have been an integral part of Hiiumaa’s landscape for centuries. The Windmills, which started to spread in the Western Europe since the 13 century were introduced in Estonia a couple of hundreds of years later. Already in 1572, there was a windmill in Hilleste village, Pühalepa. One of the oldest preserved post windmills in Estonia is in Kõpu village, on the grounds of Pihla farm; the windmill is from the 18 century (the turnstile of the windmill has an engraving 1762). The most important “biographical” data of a windmill were often engraved in its turnstile. These were usually the year when the windmill was built; some engravings were magical or other signs. The nearby Harju-Nõmme windmill is made unique by the engravings in its turnstile marking all important events related to the windmill.

People say that in the old times there were so many windmills in Hiiumaa that there was not enough wind for all and some windmills had to be destroyed. Indeed, there were times when every other farm in Hiiumaa had a windmill and by the end of the 19 century the total number of windmills would reach as much as 500. Hiiumaa was the region in the Baltic Countries which was the richest in windmills. It is a little sad that only 30 have preserved and very few are in working order and could be used for milling flour if necessary.


It is a waypoint on the journey

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