Next month, the Jerusalem
Foundation will begin to renovate and restore the historic windmill in Yemin
Moshe, established by Sir Moses Montefiore more than 150 years ago.
The renovation work
will continue for about three months and will restore the mill to the way it looked
more than a century ago – it will even be able to grind flour as it once did.
The restored mill will have a white dome with white "wings," with an authentic
weather vane at the rear of the building, exactly as it appeared to the first
Jewish settlers who ventured out of the Old City's
walls in the 19th century.
Over the years, the Jerusalem Foundation has renovated the windmill several
times. The last renovation in 2000 was to repair cracks in the structure that
rendered the structure a hazard. At that time, the wings and the dome were also
replaced as they had begun to crumble and were dangerous for the many visitors passing
Today, the Foundation –
with help from experts from England
and Holland – will
accurately reproduce the structure established in 1857 by the British Holman
Inside the mill, the
historic four story structure will be restored as it looked when the flour mill
was active. There will be four
floors: a "Flour Floor" - at
the entrance to the mill, the "Mill Floor," on the second floor,
which held the heavy millstones, and the "Seed Floor" on the third level,
where sacks of grain were emptied into large containers and placed on the
fourth floor, the "Dust Floor" at the top.
Visitors coming to the
mill will be able to enter at the ground floor, look at the flour milling
process and watch a short movie about the establishment of the windmill and Jewish
settlement outside the Old
The funding for the
project, amounting to about five million NIS,
including operating and maintenance expenses for the first few years, was
raised by the Jerusalem Foundation. Christians for Israel (Dutch Friends from Holland), The Prime Minister's Office (TAMAR
Program), the Ministry of Tourism and the Jerusalem Municipality
have committed funding to the project.
Despite varying accounts, it turns out that the windmill was indeed operational
intermittently for about two decades, until 1876. The
mill will have two electrical motors to turn the mill on days when it is not sufficiently
windy in the Jerusalem
The mill will be in operation five days a week
at set hours and will effectively become the only working mill in Israel.
In order to accurately reconstruct the windmill's mechanisms and outer
appearance, the Jerusalem Foundation turned to companies in England and Holland that specialize in windmill
production, and asked them to prepare the exact model engineered by the British
Holman Company in 1857. Parts manufactured in England
will be shipped for assembly in the Netherlands this month. There, they
will be inspected by experts and then shipped to Israel.
"This is a project of historic importance," said the Jerusalem
Foundation's President Mark Sofer. "The windmill is a symbol of a
revitalized modern Jerusalem, a Jerusalem where Jews took their fate into
their own hands and became productive. These individuals ventured outside the Old City
walls and chose to work for a living, building their own lives rather than
remaining dependent on the goodwill of others."
Click here to read Jpost coverage.
Click here to watch a video about this project