Talk about windmills and people think about Holland rather than Menorca or Spain.

The standard explanation of the origins of this concept is that the idea was brought from Persia by the returning Crusaders.

However the fact is that by 1604 wind power was a major factor of the Spanish economy as evidenced by the publication ofthe novel Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes under the title The Ingenious Knight of La Mancha. If you are not familiar with this novel or want to learn more this link.

Moli have long been a feature of the Balearic Island landscape. Menorca was the first of the Balearic Islands to embrace the modern turbine. Turbines were erected at Milà to harness energy from the island's famous tramontana (prevailing northerly wind). Plans are under review for up to four more sites.

Today the old Moli of Menorca have largely been relegated to tourist attractions. There is the restaurant inside the 300 year-old "molino". Moli d'es Raco in Es Mercadal is on the main road from Mao to Ciutadella and the tourist office in the square in Cuitadella.

Fortunately for Windmill lovers and tourists alike the tradition of Menorcan wind power have been preserved in Sant Lluís.

Molí de Dalt was built in 1762 during the brief French domination of the island of Minorca. Two further followed and to this day these three mills form a spectacular backdrop for the town. Visitors to Molí de Dalt will see machinery reconstructed using original partswhich illustrates the simple but effective engineering which was in use nearly two hundred and fifty years ago in the production of flour.

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Restored Windmill in Es Mercadal
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Also on show are Moli sails which demonstrate the complex system for rigging these sails.

Finally there is a small museum displaying tools used locally along the ages for farming, cheese making, blacksmiths, bread making and transportation of goods and people.

Today Spain still ranks highly to this day as a major force in wind power. The Global Wind Energy Council ranked Spain third in terms of overall installed wind-power capacity, at nearly 16,000 megawatts.

Ahead of Spain are Germany, at nearly 24,000 megawatts of capacity, and the United States, at No. 1, with over 25,000 megawatts.

Menorca seems determined not to be left behind in making a significant contribution to the national effort.

Leave the Windmills