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Watermills

Watermills have been enriching the scenery of riverside towns and villages in Europe for centuries. These mills originated in Roman times and have been present in our country since the 12th century. On the territory of the current Slovak Republic one can find a significant number of them on the banks of the Danube and Váh rivers. In the 2nd half of the 19th century over one hundred water mills were still operating in 21 settlements (e.g. 15 in Vojka nad Dunajom (Hun: Vajka), 14 in Bodíky (Hun: Bodak), 13 in Šamorín (Hun: Somorja), and moreover there had also been watermills in settlements which today are situated at a distance from moving water such as Veľký Meder (Hun: Nagymegyer), Baloň (Hun: Balony), Jurová (Hun: Dercsika), Malé Dvorníky (Hun: Kisudvarnok), Vydrany (Hun: Hodos) or Malá Lúč (Hun: Kislúcs). The structure of watermills was adjusted to the strength of drift. Undershot mills were built along the Danube and Little Danube, and overshot mills were used at faster mountain streams. The building itself could be standing on the water‘s surface mounted on stilts, or floating – these are the so called ship mills – or could be mounted on the riverbank. All three types were known and used on Rye Island. Onboard mills mostly operated in Bodíky, Vojka nad Dunajom, Gabčíkovo (Hun: Bős), Sap (Hun: Szap) and Medveďov (Hun: Medve). Contemporary visitors are reminded of the splendour of these buildings by the mills in Jóka and Tallós on the banks of the Little Danube and the few stilts left behind in Pozsonyeperjes. Millers were able to use the energy from high yield rivers very efficiently by directing the stream to the waterwheel which while turning, moved the millstones, driving gears to grind the grain. These admirable constructions however, gradually lost significance and were replaced by steam mills or later engine-driven and electric mills.

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