Mills in Altoaragón - harinero

Almunia de San Juan:
molino de la Ortilla

Almunia de San Juan lies in Huesca province, in the Cinca Medio Region, north east of Monzón. Coming from Monzón, or exit 44 of the A-22 (Monzón avda Almunia & Almunia de S. Juan), You will arrive in the village at a roundabout. Turn right to Azanuy and then take the first road to the right (Calle San Juan). There is a sign posted (hidden from where you come) showing the way to the sifón del Sosa. Follow the narrow and winding road for about 2 km. At the end you will cross the river bed and find the construction of (1) at the other bank. The mill, known as the Molino de la Ortilla, took its water from the Río Sosa.

Pictures: 28.XII.2012

(1) Molino de la Ortilla with the entrance.
The construction is huge (1) with three floors and numerous extensions but the mill proper occupies only a small part. It is a very heterogenous building made from several types of stones: thin baked bricks, softer and thicker adobe-like bricks and also ashlar and irregular natural stone. The roofs did collapse and also several of the outer and inner walls came down. We didn't venture an exploration of any of the upper floors.
The toponym Ortilla is cited from the 14th century and documents of the 16th century tell about Molino farinero de la Torre de Francisco Çurita. Later on the mill would end in the hands of the Seño­res de la Ortilla who made many changes to the buil­ding. In the first years of the 20th century, it is said, the mill ran for 3 to 6 months a year. The business was shut down in the 1950s. ()

(2) The mill pond with the opening to the pressure pit.
The really remarkable feature of the mill is the pressure pit (cubo, 4-6) which is incorporated into the building! The opening which can be seen in the wall (see 2, 4) is not an entrance to the mill: it is the inlet of the pressure pit. The grassy irregular terrain in the foreground is the former mill pond. Notice the earthen wall running from the construction to the right in the picture. The water arrived from the right.
The canal (3) is dug in the embankment of the río Sosa. It is narrow, deep and very long. It runs for more than 1 km (). That is way past the sifón which can be seen in (3) and I didn't bother searching for traces of a dam. Given the temperament of the río Sosa, it is unlikely that anything remains. With the canal this long the dam may have been rather close to the Molino Salas on the same river.

(3) Last stretch of the canal; sifón del Sosa in the background.

(4) Inlet of the cubo (pressure pit).
(5) Upper part of the cubo.

The pressure pit is built from several types of stone (5, 6). At the bottom a wide vault under a nice arch of bricks (6) brings the water to the cárcavo.
Notice that the earthen wall surrounding the mill pond (2) reaches higher than the inlet of the pressure pit. This reservoir therefore continues upward, higher than the entrance (5). Its upper end is closed with beams which support the floor of the upper storey of the construction.

(6) Lower part of the cubo with inlet to cárcavo.
(7) Outlet of cárcavo.

The cárcavo is partly bricked and partly dug out of the rock. At the deep end an iron pressure pipe (8) can be found. The shaft is also present but the wheel was probably wooden and did not survive.
The workplace, under a low vault (10), is almost empty. The runner stone is gone, the sleeper stone (∅ = 140 cm) rests in its place (9). The wooden parts of the crane are also present.

(8) pressure pipe (botana).
(9) Sleeper stone (∅ = 140 cm).

(10) The workplace.

(11) Bolting machine (cernedor) with 4 fractions.

The carcass of a bolting machine rests against one of the walls (10). It counts 4 numbered outlets (11).
A wooden belt wheel is fitted to the end of the axle towards the crane. It may mean that the sifter could run on water power.


 Sistema de Información del Patrimonio Cultural Aragonés — Molino de la Ortilla.
at; visited: 05.VII.2017.

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