Moses Montefiore Windmill 390.
(photo credit: Courtesy, the Jerusalem Foundation)
More than 135 years after the blades stopped turning on the old Moses Montefiore
Windmill, the stately structure overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem will once
again grind grains into flour after a renovation in the coming
Israel benefactor Montefiore originally funded the windmill in
1857 to encourage Jews to move outside of the Old City and provide them with a
livelihood. But the picturesque windmill broke after approximately 20 years and
has sat in disuse ever since.
A new NIS 5 million project will recreate
the windmill as it looked in 1857, including white wings on the propellers and a
white dome on top. The Jerusalem Foundation is overseeing the renovation, which
is sponsored by the Christian Friends of Israel from Holland, the Tourism
Ministry, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ministerial Heritage Plan
The Ministerial Heritage Plan Committee, chaired by Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, announced a list of 13 heritage sites slated for
renovation on Tuesday, at a cost of NIS 72.5m. – including the Montefiore
Windmill, to which project the government is contributing NIS 1m.
windmill will operate five days a week and will be the only working mill in the
country, according to the Jerusalem Foundation.
“It’s an integral part of
new Jerusalem, and perhaps symbolizes more than anything else the move from the
Old City to new city, which started the flourishing of Jerusalem as it is
today,” said Mark Sofer, the president of the Jerusalem Foundation and a former
ambassador to India.
Renovations will begin in approximately a month and
last three months. A British company is preparing parts engineered to the exact
model the British Holman Company built in 1857. The parts will be shipped to an
expert windmill construction company in The Netherlands for partial assembly,
and will then arrive in Israel.
The mill will have four floors: a flour
floor at the entrance; a mill floor on the second level, which will house the
heavy millstones; the seed floor on the third level, where sacks of grain will
be emptied into large containers; and the top floor, called the “dust
The only difference between the windmill of the 1800s and the
windmill of the 2000s will be a short video in the entryway explaining the
building’s history, and some extra mechanical gears to turn the blades on
Since Jerusalem has become more built up, tall buildings
now block the wind and there isn’t enough of it to turn the propeller, Sofer
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