Basel, Gallizian Papiermühle. Photo/Foto: TES.

The Gallizian Mill

Mills were the first technologically advanced large-scale works in the Middle Ages. Basel had two large mill districts, one in Kleinbasel and one in the St. Alban Valley (St. Albantal).

After the foundation of the monastery St. Alban in 1083, the monks built mills and mill wheels for grain, wood saws, forges and other use. There were 13 mills with 34 water wheels in this district.

They were located at the Albanteich. The Albanteich is the name for the canal, that monks constructed in 1150. The water was derived from the river Birs.

One of the oldest paper mills in Basel is still in operation. The mill was built in 1284 for a forge.

The mill wheel is operated by the Museum for Paper, Writing and Printing  (Die Basler Papiermühle, Museum für Papier, Schrift und Druck).

The Basel Council (1431-1448), the foundation of the University of Basel (1460) and the booming publishing industry changed the function of the mills. Many were transformed into paper mills.

The mill wheel is named after Antonio Gallizian, one of Basel’s first paper producers. He rebuilt the mill in 1453.