Only the breeziest of hills become home to windmills, where grains are ground into flour. When the winds rouse enough might to turn their large wheels, the crushing stone begins to do its work.
Some of the windmills are struggling to resist the disruptive means of time.
Morsels of grain, now turned into fine powders, replenish markets and tables alike. Though Anatolia’s tradition of many a century has been replaced by more contemporary processes, windmills still firmly exist all around Turkey. Let us go where the wind takes us…
On Windy Hills
By far, the Bodrum peninsula houses the highest number of windmills in Turkey. Nearly all villages connected to the county have remnants of the abandoned ground-grain tradition. About eighty windmills, the oldest being nearly four hundred years old, reside on the various windy peaks of the peninsula.
The mills sitting atop Gumusluk bay resemble lions with their tails cut off — grand yet solemn. Their blades are broken, draped in pieces of torn cloth, while their interiors are in ruin. In Gumbet village, the roofs as well as the blades of many mills have disappeared completely. One gets the feeling that those beautiful cylindrical bodies will crumble at any moment. Where once they created a formation resembling a string of pearls gracing the land, some of them now serve as barns, others as storage for hay. Is it not ironic that nearly all touristic Bodrum market souvenirs feature grander semblances of these actually shattered monuments?
Windmill Museum in Yalikavak
Only the Windmill Museum in Yalikavak can help us reimagine their full, original charms. As Yalikavak’s symbol, the windmill housing the museum was repaired and put into use again as a touristic cafe by a private business owner. The pleasure of sipping tea in the shade of this old windmill, at the peak of a breezy hill, is hard to match, especially in the dead heat of summer. The picture need not be so melancholic though – help is on the way for the turn mills. The Bodrum Peninsula Promotion Foundation is currently dedicating its efforts to the restoration of all the mills in the country as well as their integration to cultural tourism.
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