The Gacka Mills
The river Gacka and its valley cannot be envisaged without the mills on it. First mills in history are mentioned to be on the river in place of Švica, where Gacka sinks into the Švica lake. These mills very indeed important and the noble family of Frankopan used to give its products as a well-earned gift to the faraway monasteries.
People from the far came to the mills in times of drought, for miller to mill their wheat. The life centred on these properties, and one can even imagine the sounds of horses and people, only to be followed with a roar of water after they have left. It was customary to wait even a few days for the crop to be milled.
The miller, although a very respected person, had a very simple diet, consisting of ordinary peasant food and miller’s bread, made from barely and spelt. Today you can visit two of them, the Majer mill and the Kolaković mill.
We visited Kolaković’s place, situated in the village of Sinac, possibly the most picturesque village in whole Lika. Astounding coexistence of river, wood, stone, and men forms preserved wooden mills which attract people from all around the world.
We enter the miller’s home and instantly feel the essence of milled corn and fresh flour. Kolaković rye, wheat and corn flour, and also polenta, again a staple food for Lika. During the 20th century about sixty water mills were operating on the Gacka river and its tributaries. Today only a few water mills at the river springs in Sinac are still used for grinding grain in the traditional way using the river’s water power. Continuing in harmony and collusion between man and nature, as objects signifying their accord and cooperation, the water mills safeguard the memory of old, extinct trades.
A single water mill had more than one owner with each of them entitled to use a single millstone according to a predefined schedule. They were “holders of the line”, a right acquired by inheritance, donation or acquisition of shares. Even women were entitled to it through dowry.Today, at the beginning of a new century, the water mills at the springs of Gacka are still standing as monuments of traditional architecture, with the clatter of millstones.
For sightseeing tours and demonstration of the grain milling process, cloth fulling and wool rug weaving, please announce your visit directly to:
Jure Majer, the Miller Phone: +385 92-105-1466
Jure Kolaković, the Miller Phone: +385 99-571-6940
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