Maramures (a tiny region from northern Transylvania, Romania) is one of Europe´s most important eco-destinations, a well-kept secret where Industrial Revolution didn’t occur. The place is the last bastion of those upholding the ancient European traditions and the last place with authentic peasant culture, but under pressure from modern life and EU rules, still proofing how Europe was looking like long time ago.

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Here, on the banks of the small rivers are hidden the largest European group of water-powered farm machinery, comprising about 50 installations (without counting hundreds of alcohol distilleries), located – since medieval times – in their original sites, still in working condition and daily use, without any museum or tourist purposes, unique, but totally unprotected and endangered, none of them being listed as historical monument…

The most known types of water-powered machines are: whirlpools (used to wash carpets and heavy textiles by centrifugal action of water, cheap and ecological), flour mills (for grinding corn seed), fulling mills, the only ones still in service on the continent (in Western Europe they have vanished as early as 18th century) used to make thicken woolen fabric for winter traditional coats, the only working carding mills from Europe (where the sheep wool is prepared for hand spinning), a rare thresher and many alcohol distilleries (using water just for cooling). The most numerous installations are found in the villages where the traditional way of life is better preserved and where folk costumes are still worn. The mills are fragile and should be protected for future, as a unique part of pre-industrial European heritage.

Fulling mill wooden hammers

At whirlpool

Whirlpool detail

Water wheel mill

Washing raw wool

At thresher

Smoking distillery

Riverbank from Maramures

Old mill and whirlpool

The miller

Fulling mill

A busy distillery

Corn starch

Carding mill

Copper still