Zubieta Mill Refurbishment as ecomuseum
1997 - 1998
Navarra, Spain
Zubieta Town Hall
Floor area
293,83 m2
109.653,48 €
1st Prize COAVN 1999, Categoria Refurbishment

The mill of Zubieta can be located in the map of mills corresponding to the Valley of Baztán.

Amongst their main characteristics it can be pointed out their location along creeks (errekak) and by the river of Baztán. This is because their prevention from usual flooding periods. Their “molturation” system is the so-called “mediterranean mill of vertical axis”.

Their machinery usually has stones or mills for wheat and corn molturation. These mills are usually made out of fine linestone, coming from mount Alkurruntz’s quarry where it is carved by local stonemasons.

Most of these mills belong, as the one in Zubieta, to the area of Bidasoa where land owners used to lease their exploitation to artisans.

As in the rest of Navarra, these type of mills are known as “molinos de maquila” in reference to the way millmen used to share their financial benefits. Since no wage was arranged, every job was paid with the “maquila” or the amount of grain provided for molturation. In Navarra, this system referred to the “almute” (called “laka” in the Valley of Baztán) which equals to one sixteenth of the “robo”, that is to say 1,77 liters approximately.

There is a cross carved in the lintel of the main door, where one can read YEAR 1785, so it is assumed this is the date when it was built or at least part of it.

The reception of water from the river is carried out by means of a channel that drives the current until getting wider to form with the own mill a small prey that retains the water at a higher level that of the camera where the buns are, obtaining this way a bigger motive force.

The mill has three hydraulic wheels or buns (“azeniak”) of iron, the axis or tree (“ardatz”) it is wooden and it crosses the eye of the stones reserve (“ azpiko arri”) and “volandera” (“gaineko arri”).

To avoid the loss of flour, the molars are surrounded of an ancased wooden (“kajona”) that are polygonal in the mill of Zubieta. On the drawer the chutes are installed on the donkeys (“ astokajona”) or wooden supports. The grain spills in them and it goes falling to the stones for a funnel (“kalapatxa”), favoring the rhythmical fall of the cereal in a “taravilla” (“kalaka”) or cylinder with teeth that it rotates with the axis.

Another interesting element is the revolvable crane (“peskantia”) that serves even at the present time to disassemble the superior stone and this way to proceed to its “dive”, operation that it is necessary to carry out each little time.

The mill conserves its system of opening of the entrance of water in the camera by means of the “templadera” or hook that it is worked from the superior floor, as well as the device located next to the molars that it allows to raise the bank on which rests the bun, to obtain this way a bigger or smaller separation of the stones of milling.

As annexed construction, a pavilion of a single floor exits, lifted to house the turbine of electricity production. It seems that the mill of Zubieta worked as modest central hydroelectric in a recent  pas.