The Watermills from Eftimie Murgu: Timeless Traditions
The 22 watermills from Eftimie Murgu are a rare attraction in Romania, as they represent the largest watermills park from South-East Europe. More than an open-air museum, the watermills from Almajului Mountains are still used by locals to grind their cereals, following faithfully the tradition of their ancestors.
Grinding maize using the watermills goes back a long time in this small village, previously known as Rudaria, a place that exists at least since 1241 when its name was first documented. More than two centuries ago, in 1722, eight watermills were functioning in the village, their number increasing at 51 by the end of the 19th century. But most likely, the practice existed in Eftimie Murgu for many centuries before being officially mentioned.
Using these basic hydraulic installations was only possible due to the village’s location along the gorges of Rudaria River and the skillfulness of its locals who, with limited means, directed the water course to power the wheels that activated the grinding mechanism. Sure, the process is slow and completely unfit for industrial scale production, but you’ll not find such full-flavored maize flower in the supermarkets anyway.
Exploring the watermills from Eftimie Murgu is best done on foot, starting at the end of the village, keeping the narrow path that follows the river. Some watermills are opened while others are closed and you might just be so lucky to find the locals grinding their grains, a wonderful opportunity to witness a timeless tradition.
Plus, you get to see the beautiful gorges of Rudaria, a peaceful place, perfect for a bike ride. Not to mention, you’re only half an hour away from the famous Bigar Waterfall and less than 100 km from the Iron Gates Natural Park and Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park.