Around 1860, nearly 100 mills operated in Debrecen, the center of the food industry in the eastern part of the country. Most of them were driven by animals, so-called dry mill, but there were quite a few windmills and – as a curiosity – some smaller water mills in the valley of the Tócó stream, which used to have much more water.
The former building, then known as the Barcsay Windmill and today as the Hortobágy Mill, was built in 1864 and is the largest windmill in Central Europe. This is interesting because in this age the steam mill was more typical. Modernization took place here only in 1898 under the leadership of Parragh Mór, then the role of steam engines was taken over by gas generator engines in 1929. The latter did not need the sails of the windmill, so it was unfortunately removed, even though it would still be a sight to see today.
The beginning of the end
The former proud windmill and the two multi-storey factory buildings built next to it have been emptied. The surrounding smaller buildings belonging to the mill were demolished, and a gas station and panel houses were built in their place, but these only highlighted the size of the windmill tower. The tower building and the wing parallel to Böszörményi street have been placed under monument protection.
As usual, the use of the listed building was almost unsolvable, they dreamed of a mill or food industry museum there, but there was no money, especially after the regime change. The building fell into private hands during the privatization period, and in the new millennium the outside was nicely restored, but there was no money for internal use, especially since the internal structure of the industrial monument could not be used for anything else..
After many years, the authorities were forced to give in, so the internal seven-story wooden structure was dismantled, and the rest of the machines were taken away. The 4-star Malom Hotel was opened in the empty space thus formed on August 20, 2013, on the occasion of the Flower Carnival, with EU support.
The hotel has seven floors, the tower building has a spiral staircase with a panoramic glass view elevator, the rooms are located in the former granary, with a total of 44 beds. The staircase and the rooms are decorated with contemporary pictures, site maps, and archival sketches. The ground floor is occupied by a restaurant reminiscent of the original mill interior with its wooden structure and decoration.