Windmills of Latvia


There is certainly a widespread appearance of windmill imagery in Latvia, with images of windmills appearing in significant numbers on products in the supermarket. These include a popular dairy brand, whose extensive range includes everyday staples such as milk and butter, through to yogurt, milk puddings, soft and hard cheeses. Windmill images also appear widely on bread and cereals, with other food and drink products also displaying them - sometimes accurately, or sometime in cartoon form. Interestingly there does not seem to be any use of watermill imagery on products.

Its quite surprising therefore that there are so few windmill remains around. In the open air museum in the capital, Riga, there are in fact 4 reconstructed windmills (and long standing plans to reerect a watermill when funds can be found), but this is a unique concentration. A few other mills are spread around the countryside, but in very small numbers.

Areas: Riga Cesis Vidzeme Unknown region

Riga

Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum (#lv1)

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(56.98838,24.2834)

smock - 6-sailed smock mill from Rundenu Pakalni, dated 1890s, re-erected 1974
Signboard says:
Built around the year of 1890 in the estate of Pakalni parish of Rundeni in the former district of Ludza (present district of Ludza). Put up in the museum in 1974. This is a specimen of the-so-called Dutch mill with only the top part rotating in the air together with the sails. Highly elaborate transference equipment allowed to operate two grindstones simultaneously. The sails were made of rough cloth the area of which could be adjusted to the wind. The wind-mill was in working condition till 1950.

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Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum (#lv2)

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(56.99247,24.2741)

post - Post mill from Zemgale, Skibe, "Bendzoles", dating from about 1814, re-erected at museum 1935
Signboard says:
Built in 1814 in the parish of Skibe in the former district of Jelgava (present district of Dobele). Since 1935 in the museum. This is a specimen of oldest type of the-so-called pole mills. The body of the mill is set on 6.7 metres tall oak pole. The wings with sails were turned to the wind together with the body. Special tail-windlass with axle was used for this purpose. A pair of millstones can be found on the second floor of the mill.

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Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum (#lv3)

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(56.99355,24.2807)

paltrok - Paltrok mill from Vidzeme, Pabazi, late 19th C, re-erected 1990
Signboard says:
Built in the second half of the 19th century in the parish of Pabazi district of Riga. Since 1975 in the museum. This is a specimen of oldest type of the-so-called pole mills. The wings with sails were turned to the wind together with the body. Special tail-windlass with axle was used for this purpose. A pair of millstones can be found on the second floor of the mill.

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Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum (#lv4)

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(56.98797,24.2808)

thatched smock - Small thatched 8-sailed smock mill, early 20th C, reconstructed at museum 1972
Signboard says:
Constructed at the beginning of the 20th century in the village of Dervinieki, parish of Driceni in the former district of Rezekne (present district of Rezekne). Exhibited since 1973. The mill is built following the pattern of the-so-called Dutch mill in a smallholder's farmstead. The equipment was so tiny it could be worked by hand in calm weather.

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Skola, Jurmala (#lv23)

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(56.93430,23.6054)

tower - seems to be (unofficially) used as a climbing wall

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Mock Mills

Lido Atputas Centre (#lvmock1)

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(56.92695,24.1602)

mock - Mock mill - part of a restaurant, built in 1987 on the corner of a large log cabin

The Lido Atputas Centre is an amusement park centred on a large log cabin housing a Latvian themed buffet restaurant. In one corner of the restaurant is a mock windmill, whose sails rotate by motor (they would have to - there is no twist to them at all). The interior of the mill tower is bare - simply part of the restaurant, though there are a number of (seemingly authentic) millstones in various places around the complex. The restaurant also brews its own beer from a brewery in the basement, but take-outs in a "souvenir" bottle are expensive (3.90 Lats) The windmill logo appears on a number of other themed souvenirs - including chocolate and postcards.

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Riga - old town (#lvmock3)

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(56.94908,24.1063)

Lido Alus Seta: post - An oversize model windmill, within this bar/restaurant

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Cesis

Cesis (#lv24)

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(57.31569,25.2818)

tower

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Araisi (#lv10)

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(57.24773,25.2708)

Drabesi windmill: tower - Tower mill, date stone 1852, reconstructed 1982-84, 4 sails

Taken from the description in the European Heritage Days 2005 publication "100 best preserved buildings in Latvia": Drabesi windmill (built 1852) belongs to the so-called Dutch type and features a fixed tower with an adjustable cap, which could be turned against wind by means of a special mechanism from outside the building. The windmill is a former property of Drabesi manor. It was later acquired by the Guaja National Park, and subsequently renovated. The 4 floors of the windmill feature grinding equipment and mechanisms, as well as providing interesting cultural and historical information.

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Vidzeme

Lizums (#lv16)

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(57.18755,26.3670)

tower - Interior machinery gone, but used as a museum of local personalities

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Unknown region

Jekabpils (#lv15)

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(56.49703,25.8733)

Sunkaste windmill:

in the open air museum, 6 Filizofu Street

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Liepajas

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Ventspils Maritime Open-Air Museum (#lv5)

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(57.38537,21.5345)

smock - restored

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Ceraukste (#lv6)

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(56.35999,24.2835)

Ribbes mill: smock - restored

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Ludza (#lv13)

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(56.55037,27.7262)

post - restored

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Pastari (#lv7)

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(56.42975,26.7533)

smock

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Rude (#lv11)

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(56.38923,21.0955)

smock

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Rucava (#lv12)

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(56.18921,21.1755)

smock

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Peterlauki (#lv14)

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(56.54101,23.7164)

tower

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Veveri (#lv17)

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(57.11656,25.8466)

smock

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Saka (#lv18)

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(56.86783,21.2274)

tower

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Pilsblidenes (#lv19)

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(56.69449,22.6895)

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Emburga (#lv20)

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(56.54810,23.9869)

tower

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Varnavas (#lv21)

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(56.41344,25.5371)

tower

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Ives (#lv22)

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(57.42100,22.5282)

tower

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Mock Mills

Valka (#lvmock2)

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(57.77370,26.0169)

mock

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Last updated 03/03/2017 Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2017 -