The old mill in the village of Melniki

The old mill in the village of Melniki


Architecture, Industrial buildings

A small village with a speaking name Melniki is situated 20 kilometers from the regional center – Brest. Logically, that it is this place where is located one of the oldest mills on the territory of Belarus.             Our country is called a land of rivers and lakes. That is why it was typical for our ancestors to use water resources as efficiently as possible. Therefore water mills, which were built mostly of wood, were widely spread on the territory of Belarus. While building, creators always carried out the exact calculations of all structural elements, erecting a building on powerful stilts or a strong foundation. Millstones were place inside the building, under the roof, in order they would not be damaged by storm, only a wheel was outside, which was put in motion by water.

The greatest attention was given to the wheel, the diameter of which sometimes reached four meters! Its building-up was carried out in the following way: two wooden rims were screwed to the shaft, set horizontally. There was a fifty centimeters’ distance between them. Inside they were sheathed with planking, and outside were placed partitions – extemporaneous ladles, located one after another along the wheel, were made in such a way.  Water, getting into the deepening of such a ladle, set in motion the whole wheel. In the premises of the mill another wheel, jointed with cogs to a horizontal gear, was worn on the shaft. The axle, connected to the gear, passed through a hole, made in the bottom stone, and attached fast to the top one. The hole between the millstones could be adjusted: the wider it was, the coarser grinding was. One of the key factors that influenced both the speed and quality of grinding was a uniformity of giving grain, which was regulated with the help of a special device: a swinging metering device was attached to the container with grain.

The water mill in the village of Melniki is a perfectly preserved example of wooden architecture, standing on the picturesque bank of the Pulva River. It is a rectangular two-storeyed building with well preserved flour-grinding gears inside and beautiful carving outside.

The exact date of its constructing is unknown, however, according to the eighth revision, carried out in 1833, a water mill had already worked in the estate of Gremyacha, a part of which was Melniki. But the building that has been preserved to our days was constructed a little later.

Countess Krasinskaya owned these lands in the 19th century. The mill building appeared here either in the early 20th century or in the interval between the World War I and II. Its following owners were Chambrovsky and Remerz.

After the Great Patriotic War the mill was still working providing the kolkhoz, to which it belonged, with flour. Then it was electrified. Some years ago the mill was neglected, and nowadays this wonderful architectural monument is neglected as well.  If you like traditional Belarusian architecture, you should visit the village of Melniki without fail and admire this marvelous mill.

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