This watermill is more than 300 years old, but it’s still able to harness the power of a nearby pond to grind flour. Water rushes down the gutter and starts to turn the mill’s wheel, just as it did centuries ago.
Visitors to the mill can see that traditional process for themselves in the Kursk region outside of Moscow. This is the only working watermill in Russia, preserved in its original form.
“This is a watermill, it is quite old, installed at the beginning of the 18th century, so the year approximately when this watermill appeared, when it was built, it is 1703 or 1707 or 1710,” said watermill restorer Sergey Yeshin.
Unlike modern mills that squash grains into flour, old watermills would softly grind the grain. It took 30 turns of the millstone to make it into flour.
Yeshin was specially invited to restore this monument of wooden architecture. The work took a year and a half.
“The mill is divided into four floors, or four technical levels. The upper floor is the fourth one, it is from here that grain started its journey. It was brought up here and poured into the hopper,” said Yeshin.
The oak log building remained unchanged, but the main grinding mechanisms were restored.
It had been operating until 2007, when its last keeper, miller Egor Krasnikov, passed away. After that, it was used incorrectly and suffered damage.
For centuries, the use of a water mill remained critical in the production of many goods like flour, lumber, paper, textiles, and metal products.
Yeshin says this area used to have 57 mills. As recently as the last century, it still had ten which were working.