Ta’ Kola Windmill, Xaghra, Malta

Ta’ Kola Windmill (Maltese: Il-Mitħna ta’ Kola), is a windmill in the village of Xagħra, on the island of Gozo in the Maltese archipelago. It was built in 1725 by the Fondazione Vilhena of Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena, and was rebuilt in the 1780s. It became a museum in 1992.

Ta’ Kola Windmill in Xagħra, Gozo, is one of the few surviving windmills on the Maltese Islands dating back to the Knights’ Period. Its origins go back to 1725 during the magistracy of Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena (1722-36). The mill was first built in 1725 during the reign of the Order of the Knights of Malta, on the order of Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena , to meet the economic needs of a growing population . As its construction seems to have incorporated bad quality stones and mortar, it had to be dismantled and reconstructed during the 1780s.

The windmill’s name Ta’ Kola is connected with the last miller, Ġuzeppi Grech who was popularly known as Żeppu ta’ Kola (Joseph the son of Nikola). The name comes from that of its last conductor, the miller Gużeppi Grech, called by the locals with the nickname of Żeppu ta ‘Kola .

The mill, located in Hunting, a village on the island of Maltese in Gozo, offers visitors a splitting of life on the small island during the 18th century.

Its architecture reflects the typical Maltese windmills of the time, with a series of rooms used for differentiated uses and distributed in a two storey building, built around a central stone cylinder tower .

Like many other Maltese windmills, it has a round central tower surrounded by a number of rooms. The sails and milling machinery have been restored, as have the miller’s living-quarters. The museum also contains a large collection of traditional tools, mostly for wood- and iron-working.

Apart from operating the windmill, the miller would likely have performed several secondary jobs to keep himself employed when weather conditions made it impossible to operate the mill. When the wind was favourable for the mill to be operated, the miller would let the locals know by blowing through a triton-shell (Maltese bronja) and villagers would then bring their cereals to be ground into flour.

Its construction follows a plan which is echoed in most Maltese windmills of the period and consists of a number of rooms on two floors surrounding the centrally-placed cylindrical stone tower. The latter houses the milling mechanism which consists of two circular hard-wearing stones placed on top of each other to crush the grain forced between the two rotating surfaces.

On the ground floor of the windmill one can observe the workshop premises containing a vast array of tools, some of which were originally manufactured by the owners of the mill. On the first floor, the living quarters of the miller including the kitchen, dining room and bedrooms, have been recreated using traditional furniture and items related to Gozitan crafts. In the kitchen one may find traditional utensils and cooking ware which are today hard to come across.

The central tower houses the milling mechanism, consisting of two overlapping stone circles.

The lower floor was used as a workshop, while the upper floor was the miller’s house.