Last updated: 25 July, 2012

Historic Jerusalem mill gets new wind in sails

The restoration of a landmark 19th century windmill which overlooks Jerusalem’s Old City was completed on Wednesday, with the renovated mill poised to resume its original function of grinding grain.

The Montefiore windmill in the upmarket Yemin Moshe quarter was built in 1857 but was never a great success because of Jerusalem’s unreliable wind, especially in the summer, said Liat Rosner, spokeswoman for the Jerusalem Foundation.

“The mill was not good enough,” she told AFP. “It didn’t work for many weeks and months of the year.”

“This time it’s the 21st century and we’re using electricity.”

Rosner said it should start milling flour in January after it receives specialist parts which are due to be shipped from Britain and the Netherlands at the end of the year.

British firm Holmans, which originally designed the landmark windmill, is working with Dutch experts on the makeover.

Its crumbling cupola and blades have been replaced and its four-storey interior has been restored to show visitors how it worked in the past.

The mill was named for British Jewish philanthropist Moses Montefiore, who funded it along with the district where it stands, Yemin Moshe, which was also named after him.

Yemin Moshe was the first district established by Jews outside the walls of the cramped Old City and the oldest neighbourhood in what has become modern Jerusalem.

Rosner said that flour from the revamped mill might be put to practical use.

“This is only an idea, but maybe we will make bread and sell as Montefiore souvenir bread to tourists and visitors. It’s a good income.”