Mills
Architecture


The last working watermill in Istria, Mlun (Milino)
(Source: 
© Marin Topic, Istra, Omnium d.o.o. (Poreč, 1997) 

Istrian Water Mills - Istarske Vodenice

I have found the Momjan (Momiano) mill in the dried up creek where water runs only when it rains. The water mill still works. It is carefuly maintained by miller Serge Candoti. It has two wheels and stone stone mills and it can utilize the rise in rain water. I came across this interesting mill by chance as I travelled through the basin of the old town of Momjan (Momiano). Since then I have systematicaly continued to photograph all the Istrian mills. Pronašao sam momjanski mlin na presušnom potoku kuda teče voda samo kada padaju kiše. Vodenica jos melje. Pomno ju održava i cuva mlinar Serđo Kandoti. Mlin ima dva kolesa - dva kamena žrvnja, da iskoristi svu nabujalu kišnu vodu. Slučajno sam na taj zanimljivi mlin naišao putujući kotlinom ispod staroga grada Momjana. Od tada sam sustavno nastàvio slikanjem svih istarskih vodenica.
Mirna (Quieto) is the largest river in Istria and along its flow there used to be many beautiful mills. People used the inexhaustible water power intelligently not only for the water mills but also to grade the woolen fabric that they wove. I came across only a few mills in the basin of the Mirna. Starting from the source, the first one is at Humstina (?) in the village of Kotli [It. Cotli]. Here there are two overflow mills (the water flows on top of the wheel) where each one had two stone mill wheels. They have not been used for the last twenty years. The last miller was Josip (Joseph) Vivoda who died not long ago. In this narrow strip of Buzet (Pinguente) there were at least ten water mills, and not even one has survived. Mirna, najveća istarska rijeka, na svom je toku imala mnogo lijepih mlinova. Ljudi su mudro koristili neiscrpnu snagu tekuće vode, ne samo za mlinove, nego i za stupanje vunenoga sukna što su ga sami tkali. U slivu Mirne pronašao sam malo mlinova. Od izvora, prvi u Humštini, u selu Kotli. Tu su dva stara mlina s nadljevnim kolesima. Svaki je imao po dva kamena žrvnja. Već dvadesetak godina nisu u pogonu. Posljednji je umirovljeni mlinar Josip Vivoda nedavno umro. U užoj okolici Buzeta bilo je barem desetak mlinova. Ni jedan nije ostao.

Photo by Hans Van Mulders. © All right reserved.

Kotli, an abandoned watermill (above, below and left).

All © Rights reserved to the original sources.


Photo by S. Mandic. All © rights reserved.
Downstream from Buzet (Pinguente) one can see the remains of stone mills that were destroyed. Only a couple years ago one could still see the water wheel in the rubble, with its underflow blades still in one piece (An underflow is where the water flows below the water wheel). Now even that is missing. Nizvodno od Buzeta vide se samo kameni ostaci uništenih mlinskih zdanja. Do prije par godina u Rùšnjaku je i koleso s podljevnim lopatama bilo čitavo. Sada više ni njega nema. 
The ground floor is under water and covered with silt. This was Eugene Ručnjak's beautiful one-story water mill near the bright Mirna (Quieto) river's water bed. This water mill is fed by a strong and thick waterflow. It is an underflow mill where the blades of the wheel look like shovels. The same fate also befell the big mill at the Istrian hot spas. It no longer exists as it fell apart in the still and murky waters. The only thing that is left of it are the dark stones of its wall protruding out of the water. Prizemlje je utopljeno u mulju i vlažnoj naplavljenoj zemlji. Bila je vrlo lijepa jednokatna vodenica Eugena Ručnjaka uz bistro Mirnino korito. Vodenica je imala podljevna kolesa s jakim širokim i debelim mlazom vode, takozvani podljevni mlin na lopate. Ista je sudbina zatekla i veliki mlin kod Istarskih toplica. Ni njega više nema. Istrunuo je u mutnoj vodi stajačici - rukavcu. Samo kameni tamni ostaci zida strše iz vode.

Sv. Stiepan - S. Stefano (Grisignana). Foto U. Pellis, 1935

At Oprtalj (Portole) flows a steep creek which is near the village of Krti (It. ?). Here we have three small mills in the same plain. A weak water flows toward the first one close by, on the downstream is the second one, and further down the stream is the third. This water has a steep fall and two of  the water wheels are large. This way, the force of the water is utilized more efficiently. Unfortunately they are unused. The owner Anton Blaškic is a retired miller who is well known in Oprtalj (Portole). Od Oprtlja teče strmi sabirni potočić pokraj sela Krti. Tu su tri malena mlina u istom nizu. Slabašna voda teče na prvi, pod njim na drugi pa odmah, još niže, na treći mlin. Kako voda ima jako strmi pad, sva su kolesa velikoga promjera da se snaga vodopada što bolje iskoristi. Nažalost, ne melju. Vlasnik je Anton Blaškić, poznati stari oprtaljski umirovljeni mlinar.
West of Buzet (Pinguente) and below the vertical cliff of the Ciceria you find the small settlement of Mlin. This is the nicest corner of Istria's vintage mills. A strong spring that never dried up constantly murmurs there. Saved there are three mills linked together by a row of walls. One of them is still milling. Marija, the miller, is well known around these parts. She welcomes visitors, and is happy to show her ancient mill. [See photograph at top.] Zapadno od Buzeta pod okomitom klisurom Cićarije smjestilo se seoce Mlini. Najljepši je tu kutak mlinarske starine u Istri. Nepresušni jaki izvor vječno žubori. Sačuvana su tri mlina u vezanom zidnom nizu. Jedan melje. U svoj okolici je dobro poznata mlinarica Marija. Svakom dobrodošlom posjetitelju rado pokaže svoj starinski mlin. [Pogledajte sliku gore.]
Further down the road from the place called Mlin (?), water is collected from a few springs feeding the creek Crnac (Negro) that flows into the river Mirna (Qiueto) by way of Rušnjaka (It.?). At Crnac creek one can also still see remnants of two mills at međugorju before the village Opatija [not the city on the east coast]. Od mjestanca Mlini naniže sabire se voda s još nekoliko izvora u potok Crnac koji se slijeva u Mirnu kod Rušnjaka. Na Crncu su takoder još vidljivi ostaci dva mlina u međugorju prije sela Opatije.
Tomazinov (Tom's) mill at Pazin (Pisino) is daily crumbling and very soon it will disappear. I walked upstream through dense branches of  vegetation, and came across three ancient mills that were difficult to see. Tom's could be refurbished. Here, they once made woolen fabric. Nobody does that anymore. Water was used to rinse the carved stones and now it runs as white as milk. All its natural beauty has been destroyed.  Tomažinov mlin u Pazinu iz dana u dan propada i uskoro će potpuno nestati. Pješačio sam uzvodno kroz gusto granje bujnoga raslinja. Naišao sam na tri, jedva primjetna, ostatka nekadašnjih vodenica. Tomažinov bi se it1lin mogao obnoviti. Tu se i sukno stupalo. Izuzetno je velika snaga vode. Nitko se time više ne bavi. Voda se koristi za ispiranje rezanoga kamenja pa sada teče bijela kao mlijeko. Uništena joj je sva prirodna ljepota. 
The basin of the Rasa (Arsia) has no water mills. At one time, they existed at the head of the river. Na slivu Raše nema mlinova. Dakako, da su postojali, naročito bliže izvorištima.
On the road to Benjamin Zarka, co-owner of a mill in the valley of Botonega near Kašcerga (Villa Padova) below the village of Ukotici, I found not long ago two abandoned one-story water mills. Both mills are destroyed. They are submerged in the deep water of a new lake. From the high new dam upstream, the first mill that is in the lowland was an overflow mill, the other closer to the hill was fed by water that cascaded water onto a water wheel that had box-like blades. The flow of water was flowing from the raised channel that people constructed so that the water would fall from higher elevation onto the mill. Po naputku Žarka Benjanina, suvlasnika mlina u dolini Botonege kod Kašćerge, ispod sela Ukotića, nedavno sam pronašao dvije jednokatne napuštene vodenice. Oba su mlina već potpuno razrušena. Potopila ih duboka voda novog jezera. Od visoke nove brane uzvodno prvi je mlin u nizini polja pa je bio podlijevan. Drugi je bliže brijegu s dva nadljevna kolesa na škatule. Dotok vode mu je dolazio povišenim kanalom kako su ljudi navezli zemlju da voda s visine pada na mlin.
I didn't have even a hunch that Poreč (Parenzo) might have a mill. In its plain there is no creek even when it rains as all the water penetrates into the ground. Oreste Košeto told me that there will be a surprise waiting for me. He will soon take me to Kaštelir (Castellier di Visinada) where, at the source of the small creek Gladole, there were two mills and water water mills. Probably I will find some magical water mills. Nisam ni slutio da bi i Poreština imala mlin na tekućoj vodi. Ta, u njenom ravničarskom području nema potoka ni kada padaju kiše. Sva voda ponire u zemlju. Oreste Košeto mi je rekao da za me ima iznenađenje. On će me odvesti u Kaštelir gdje su na izvornom potočiću Gradole bila dva mlina - dvije vodenice. Divho, možda ću pronaći jođ koju vodenicu-čarobnicu.

Addendum by Ive Kalcic:

About 5 km upstrean on the river Rasa (Arsia) there exist the remains of two water mills which were operational before World War I. One was called "Rakovnik" and another was "Grdak". The owner of the second mill was Jacic from Kunj. 5 km uzvodno rijeke Rase imate ostaci od 2 vodenice radile su prije prvog svijetskoga rata.Jedna se zove "Rakovnik" a druga se zove "Grdak". Vlasnik od druge vodenice je bio Jacic od Kunja.

Buje / Buie - May 1, 1917

Young women and men posing near a water mill / Giovani di Buie posano vicino ad un mulino ad acqua. / Mlade djevojke i mladici se poziraju uz vodenicu. This photograph courtesy of Pietro Valente.

Matija Pokrivka
(translated to English by Bruno Clapci)

Author's drawings of water mills
Pisački crteži od mlinova

Sources / Izvor: 

  • Matija Pokrivka, "Istarske vodenice", Kalendar 1990 - Franina i Jurina, Edicija Libar od Grozda (Pula, 1990), p. 166, 167-169, 184 i 203.
  • Fotografija (1997) - Marin Topic, Istra, Omnium d.o.o. (Porec, 1997) 
  • Fotografija (1935) - Roberto Starec, Mondo popolare in Istria, Collana degli Atti, Centro Storico, Rovigno (Rovigno, 1996)
  • Fotografija (1917) - courtesy of Pietro Valente
  • Fotografija - http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Europe/Croatia/Coast/Istarska/Kotle/photo296810.htm
  • Fotografija - http://photocroatia.com

See also:


Main Menu


This page compliments of Marisa Ciceran and Bruno Clapci

Created: Monday, January 08, 2001; Last Updated: Friday, July 24, 2015
Copyright © 1998 IstriaNet.org, USA