On-line ISSN 0718-7262
Chiloé watermills, scattered throughout districts in the archipelago, deserve special attention after many decades of intense activity. With milling grain as their main purpose, they have a deep-rooted cultural and socioeconomic meaning in the region. They are however, considerably threatened by the unrestrained advance of industrialization. As is true with many craft items, watermills came to life by manual processes in which folk wisdom prevailed over technical codes. Their manufacturing embodied the spirit of the place and the aspirations of its inhabitants. Unintentionally, this process merged certain symbolic and ideological values of the local culture. Mostly abandoned, today watermills have the chance of becoming an item for outreach through specialized alternative tourism, mainly focused on displaying works currently lacking official recognition.
Keywords: Watermill; hydraulic culture; farm economy; heritage tourism.
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Instituto de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Facultad de Ciencias de la Ingeniería, Universidad Austral de Chile.
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