Valdgale‘s Windmill Tower

Image1This listed building is located 3 km from Talsi/Latvia (Courland) in the direction of Dundaga, where the main roads P125 and 126 leading to Roja cross. It was built around the year 1868 as natural stone tower mill. In 2000 the only part left was the stone tower, the remains being in extremely bad condition (after 40 years without roof protection), whereby the machinery and the equipment have practically not existed due to plundering and the weather conditions. The windmill was part of a large complex of the Valdgales countryseat (Valdgales Muiza) owned by the German baron family von Fircks (see coat of arms top right) until 1921; as a consequence of the land reform the family was forced to emigrate and returned to Germany. About the land ownership conditions back then we know that shortly after the emigration of the baron the windmill was bought by the blacksmith Jankevic. His successors still live there today, not far away from the mill (100 m) in the blacksmith's shop and fondly care for the windmill tower. There are only few information about the miller back then, but in the chronicles word has it that after a long milling break the grain was ground until shortly after World War II. Until the 1960ies, a Tchu Tchu train passed the windmill, a narrow-gauge railway the remainder of which can still be visited today in the “Calejis Muzeum” in Talsi; coming from the Talsi direction, the paths to Dundaga and Roja branched off here. During the Soviet time of Latvia as of 1945, a military or gastronomic use of the windmill was considered, yet nothing has come out of it and the windmill was forgotten. At first it lost its roof, then it lost its sails and finally the remainder was used as source of construction material and firewood. The test of time and the rough winter climate did the rest, destroying the windmill completely. What today’s owner found in 2000 was only a conical pile of stones that had to be saved urgently before the stone windmill tower is completely destroyed. Today, the natural stone windmill tower, the wooden beams, the floors and the roofs are restored and repaired with loving care, and in the framework of the visit the visitor may grind the lucky grain by him or herself by means of a small manually driven grinding system and take a pinch thereof as souvenir. Image1What crowns the tourists’ visits according to their own statements is the roof balcony, offering a one of a kind 360° panoramic view that is particularly striking in summer during sunset. The windmill tower with its interesting architecture and history is certainly worth visiting from the outside, but in case you are interested to visit the mill also on the inside, please note the following: If the “miller“ is at home (which is indicated by one or several large flags on the roof balcony), he will tell you a lot about the mill and its history (in Latvian, German, Italian, English and a bit of French). Have we piqued your curiosity? Then go ahead and contact us.