The Various Types of Windmills in the Azores

windmills azores islandsLike so many aspects of the Azores Islands, although they are similar in numerous ways, there are apparent differences between them. One is the varying types of windmills that exist on the nine islands in the archipelago. It is fascinating to take a closer look at the variations in styles based on their origins on the island. The Azores islands were officially discovered in the 15th century by Goncalo Velho Cabral, who colonized the islands on behalf of Portugal. It was not until the mid 16th century that windmills began to be constructed in the Azores, over a century after its discovery. windmills azoresThe initial settlers to the islands predominantly created watermills known in Portuguese as ‘Moinhos de Aqua.’ These were built along ravines or streams that, with the ample rain in the Azores, would facilitate water to various areas. These as well are visible on all of the nine islands in the region. furnas azores water mill sao miguelIn 1867, during Mark Twain’s visit to the Azores, he wrote about his fondness for the use of windmills here in the Azores. In the notes of his experiences in the Azores, he wrote about the efficiency of the windmills here and how “they could grind 10 bushels of corn a day if the wind did not change direction”. graciosa windmills azores islandsThe first type of windmill is the ‘Sao Miguel windmill.’ This type of windmill is what is generally found on the islands of Sao Miguel, Santa Maria, and Graciosa. Although nowadays many of the windmill designs have been incorporated into other islands in the region due to there better efficiency or needs. azores windmill graciosa sao miguelThis windmill is very similar to the ‘Dutch-style.’ It has a conical stone built base, with a wooden oval type roof that rotates with four sails. This is one of the first things you will notice on Santa Maria and Graciosa islands, mainly due to the island’s size. They are open to the public for visiting, and you can’t miss them when driving on the country roads on any of these islands. windmills pico azoresThe next type of windmill found in the region is known as the ‘Faial Windmill.’ This windmill has a unique design and is the type of windmill found of Faial and Pico’s islands. It has a cone-shape stone base with a substantial wooden upper base that has a little house. There is access through a staircase built right in the middle of the windmill to access the small house on the top. azores windmills pico islandThe sails or propellers are generally of a squarish variety with either two or four sails. These are fascinating to visit, and most have been restored to their 16th-century glory. If you have seen the vast vineyards on Pico’s island, you would have surely noticed these windmills, which scared off many birds that would otherwise eat the grapes.azores stamp windmills portugal The ‘Corvo Windmill,’ which comes from the smallest island in the archipelago, is also the least noticeable windmill in the region due to the islands’ remote location. This windmill began to be constructed in the late 16th century throughout the island. With a whitewashed roof, a low stone base with a wide tower with eight sails is quite distinct. The small stone staircase that leads to this round windmill is different than the Faial type, as they are about half the height and generally much wider.corvo azores windmill