Mills in Altoaragón - harinero

San Esteban de Litera

San Esteban de Litera is situated in the Litera region lying on the East side of Monzón (South of Barbastro along the Autovía Huesca - Lerida). Leave the motorway in Binéfar and take the A-133 to Azanuy and Fonz. In San Esteban, stay on the main road which rounds the village. You will soon find a cross roads with at your right side a bus stop and a sign listing the main attractions of the village. This is the Calle del Molino. Turn left (there is a sign: Area Recreativa Río Sosa). After about 3 km there is a sharp turn to the left. You'll see the mill (1) at the far end of a field on your right side. There is a small spot adequate for your vehicle, but you could continue to the Area nearby and then walk back.
The mill used water from the Río Sosa.

Pictures: 03.IV.2013

(1) Mill with the bed of the Río Sosa in the background
The mill is built on the edge of the riverbed. The Río Sosa makes a wide bend at that place (11) and the land between the mill and the wetted channel is a patchwork of small parcels. As the Río Sosa is notoriously ill-tempered after thunderstorms the terrain is strongly susceptible to flooding.
In former times the construction must have been quite impressive, but nowadays only an empty car­cass remains. Apart from the outer walls and some of the inner divisions downstairs, everything has fallen apart.

(2) Façade of the construction; the mill proper (7) is behind the door at right.

The living quarters of the miller were upstairs on the 2nd floor (8,9). They were reached from the out­side via stairs mounted against the northern short wall (3) of the mill.

The same wall features a single buttress (3 right, 2 left) also. At the base of the buttress an inscription can be seen (3 pale rectangle) but I was not able to decipher the text inside the box (4).

The space downstairs was dedicated to the busi­ness. The mill proper, the stone bank, was located behind the door at the south end of the building (2, right). Everything has fallen apart or is hidden below debris. Apart from the crane (8) and the backside of the cárcavo where the water entered, nothing could be recognised. There was probably only one pair of stones.

How the other rooms downstairs were used could not be determined.

(3) Side of the building with buttress and stairs leading to upper floor


(4) Inscription on the buttress (see 3)

(5) Remains of the kitchen on the 2nd floor


(6) Passageway from front to back (see 2, left)

(7) Business entrance and reception space?


(8) The crane is the only part
still upright in the former workplace.

(9) Living quarters on 2nd floor;
notice the crane (8) below

Having enough water must have been a real pro­blem. The Río Sosa is usually dry, or almost, over the entire length of its course. That is one element of the Río's character. The other side is that about once every ten years a furious flood occurs and this makes maintenance and preservation of a dam a real problem.
We could recognise no trace of a pond. Given that the river carries almost never any water, there likely must have been a pond though.

The stretch of the canal nearest the mill is a ditch (12) dug in the earth of the river bank. Its course is clearly visible in the aerial photo of the 1950s (11).


(10) Upper stretch of channel is a closed conduit;
picture taken from white dot in (11)

(11) Mill (white circle) in a curve of the Río Sosa
Flight «del Americano» 1956-'57 — © IGN

When the ditch reaches the river bed (see 11, near the black dot) it takes a sharp turn, must round a rocky promontory and then continues its course upstream. It also becomes a closed conduit (10) equipped with drainage doors at irregular intervals.

(12) Water supply channel; mill in white circle; picture taken from black dot in (11)


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