|The Interpretation Centre of Moulins Tiscamanita is installed in a wind mill and its outbuildings (miller’s house) dating from the nineteenth century, but carefully restored. This ethnographical museum presents the history of the mill, the different types of mills, construction of mills, cereal cultivation and manufacture of “gofio” in Fuerteventura, since pre-Hispanic times to the present day.|
For centuries, the gofio was the staple food of the inhabitants of the island, the Mahos aborigines then after the Norman and Spanish conquest, the Majoreros. The gofio - like Mahos themselves - is of Berber origin. This is a flour toasted grains, rich in protein, vitamins and minerals essential for human consumption; the gofio is eaten in many forms. The vital importance of gofio for human survival during famine has made - and still makes - the iconic food of the Canary Islands and their popular culture.
Aborigines gathered wild cereal grains such as barley and wheat, they were roasting and concassaient in stone mortars dug shaped vessel, and grind in hand mills consist of two stones turning one on the other. Spanish settlers resumed the use of hand mills Mahos without much improvement, and used - in addition to barley and wheat - rye and corn, cereal when this native of South America was introduced in Europe. One of these hand mills can be seen in the kitchen of the Interpretation Centre; visitors can itself try to grind a handful of grain as did the Aborigines.
Later, we used the “tahona” a millstone vertically upright and towed circularly by horses, oxen or even a group of men; the “tahona” was generally located in the same peasant housing. Grain milling and manufacture of gofio often constituted a social event.
At the end of the eighteenth century windmills appeared in the landscape of Fuerteventura, taking advantage of the trade winds blowing almost constantly on the island. The first windmills were introduced from Castile, on the model of the giants against whom fought Don Quixote. These so-called moulins “male” (molinos) were solid stone masonry buildings and clay, whitewashed, with a circular cone shape, crowned by a wooden screw, which was turned by a bar to guide blades wind. The “molino” contains two or three levels on the lower level are stored utensils used by the miller; to the middle floor, flour or gofio is collected, while the top floor houses the grinding mechanism, a machine of wood and iron.
From the second half of the nineteenth century these mills “male” divided the island landscape with windmills “female”, the “molinas” frail and certainly more practical use, invented by Isídoro Ortega Sánchez (1843-1923), a native of Santa Cruz de La Palma. The “molina” has the advantage on the “molino” that all manipulation of cereals and milling processes are performed on a single floor, eliminating the need to go up and down the miller scales, loaded with heavy bags grains. In the interpretation center a model for understanding the difference between the two types of grinders, which are widespread on the island. A specimen can be seen “molina” on Tefía, among others.
In the twentieth century, the mills also cohabited with water extraction wind, locally named “chicagos” because of their popularity in the United States, despite their European origin. Windmills gradually replaced the hand mills and tahonas; farmers preferred to wear their wheat, millet and barley to the miller, who collected his share of grain and other agricultural products until the twentieth century, when widespread was the cash payment.
The wings of windmills turned in the sky of Fuerteventura until economic changes retired push in the second half of the twentieth century, when the miller craft disappeared almost completely from the island.
Next to the museum, a magnificent mill copy of “male” awaits the arrival of visitors. One can discover it from within and - if the wind is favorable - see it working. If you have the chance to speak with the miller he will explain the milling and fine words it uses: the grain passes from the hopper to the bucket, and then spaced rhythmic tremor that prints the bulletin board movement falls between the millstones and loses its consistency in the bite of the flutes; the gofio or flour falls from the trough in the bag that awaits on the floor below, enveloping the building of an intense aroma.
The mills of the Interpretation Centre was opened at the end of 1997; it is part of the Network of Museums Fuerteventura, depending Historical Heritage Department of the Insular Chapter (Patrimonio Histórico del Cabildo Insular). It forms an ethnographic and historical together with the Mill Crafts Centre Antigua (Centro de Artesanía Molino de Antigua), the Museum of Grain La Oliva (Museo del Grano) and the Eco-museum of La Alcogida (Ecomuseo de La Alcogida) of Tefía. These mills are connected by the “Route des Moulins” (“Ruta de los Molinos”).
Visit the Centro de Interpretación de los Molinos of Tiscamanita :
If we manage to Tuineje by road FV-20, turn left, then right, behind the bar Tío Pepe.
Hours: Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 18 pm.
Phone: 00 34 928 164 275
Price: € 2.
The Centre has many objects and information panels about the history of the mill; free guide is available in different languages.
After the visit, the Centre staff offers visitors a candy made from gofio - ground in the mill center - oil and sugar. It is also possible to purchase gofio.