Estonia: Saaremaa was enriched by two more cultural monuments

NordenBladet — Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas designated a century-old landing site for fishing boats, and the watermill on Simmu Farm in the village of Möldri as cultural monuments. The landing site is still in use and the mill is unique because it has been rebuilt into a watermill.  

‘There are slightly more than 5,000 building monuments in Estonia, only a small portion of which are related to farm or village architecture. The Saaremaa landing site and watermill enrich the list of monuments from the point of view of local history, by demonstrating what the life and coastal culture of Saaremaa was like a century ago,’ said Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas.

A landing site is a structure by the sea that is partially underwater and used to launch and land fishing boats. Landing sites were very common on the Estonian shore. However, today most of them are poorly preserved. They have been damaged by ice or rebuilt into piers or harbours. The best-preserved landing sites are located on the western shore of Saaremaa. The protected landing site can continue to be used for setting out to sea.

The watermill on Simmu Farm is exceptional, as the original Dutch-style windmill was brought to Saaremaa in 1932 and rebuilt into a watermill. This conversion from a windmill to a watermill is the only known example in Estonia. The uniqueness of the mill has also been emphasised by the International Molinological Society. Saaremaa has been the county with the most windmills in Estonia. In the late 19th century, there were over 1,200 windmills in Saaremaa, but there were many times fewer today. Together with the watermill on Simmu Farm, only three watermills have survived in Saaremaa. It is noteworthy that the operating equipment of the mill has also been preserved.

The proposal to declare the landing site a cultural monument was made by the National Heritage Board on the basis of a report titled “Documentation of Saaremaa Landing Sites”. The owner of the Simmu Farm watermill wished for it to be declared a monument and made a joint application with the leadership of the Chamber of Windmill Masters in 2018.



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