If you walk up through the village you can find The Watermill and it’s traditional coffee house situated up one of the cobbled pathways. This is the spot of the last watermill in Zia and has amazing views of the island, the perfect location to watch the sunet. (Just to make sure you don’t miss the sunset, during the summer it can be anywhere between 7pm and 8.30pm to be sure to get there early to find the perfect spot)
The Watermill describes itself as a ‘traditional coffee house’ but it’s much more. Housed in the village’s old watermill (built 1800) it has great character and offers fantastic views of the coast below and across the Aegean to Turkey. It’s on the footpath leading up from the bus stop in the town square to the church, so set back slightly from the bustle of the tourist shops.
The Watermill is a great place to stop for a drink or a snack and offers a very wide range of specialist coffees, milkshakes, soft drinks (including home-made lemonade and the local cinnamon flavoured drink – an acquired taste!), as well as wine, ouzo, beer, etc. It’s not really a restaurant but the menu does include omelette’s, sandwiches, salads plus ice creams, cakes and desserts.
The watermill coffee house is run by 4 brothers, who not only welcome you to their cafe bar but who also ensure that the watermill is preserved for you to enjoy!
Finally, an unexpected feature of The Watermill!… Travellers to Greece are familiar with cats wandering around cafes and restaurants, but The Watermill also has two large tortoises in an enclosure under one of the trees that shade the outside tables and one of them is over 60 years old!!
The History Surrounding the Watermill
All the watermills in the area were built in the 1800s, during the Turkish rule. In the old days, there were 20 watermills in our village, driven by water from the “Headspring” Kefalovrysi. But when the new settlement of Zipari ws established and teh majority of the population moved there, the then village council decided to re-channel the water to meet the needs of the Zipari residents. In teh 1950s there were still 3 or 4 watermills in operation here and this particular one continued to run up until 1965. In previous times, especially during World War II, they play a ver significant role.
The watermill’s output depended of the volume of the incoming water and on the height of the millpond above the mill building. The amount of corn that could be ground depended on the altitude at which the millpond was situated. The larger the millpond and the higher the altitued, the more productive the mill. This one could grind up to 300 kilos of corn in 24 hours.
After the millpond was filled, the water was let out through a narrow hole shaped like a pipe the size of a drinking glass. Spurting out under great pressure, the water fell very forcefully on a circular wooden structure called “Sfondyli” (i.e. a shand of flywheel). This was made of mulberry wood which was water-resistant. Around this circular wooden structure, there were 20 sockets forming a circle into which were fixed 20 wooded “wings” (spokes) 40 to 50 centimetres long. The impact of the falling water on the wooded “wings” made the center of the wooden rim turn at great speed.
Fixed to the center of the wooden wheel was a axle, which ended in the hole of the millstone. The millstone consisted of two pieces, a fixed base and a rotating one on top. Thus, as the axle with the flywheel and teh spokes rotated, the movable top stone also turned, while the bottom one remained immobile. Simultaneously with the fast rotation of the movable stone, the “feeding” was regulated by a wooden rod, depending on the capacity of the mill. In other words, the miller did not need to be present to oversee the flow of corn, this was done automatically.
Finally, whenever the miller wished to grind rough meal for animals, there was a method of raising the movable stone a few millimetres, so that it turned faster and produced thicker flour.
If you something a little different then The Watermill Traditional Coffee House is the perfect place for you…