In the middle of the Reka's river canyon and just a few meters away from Mahorčič's cave entrance, watermill Ukno lays beside the powerful flow of the river.
Although its appearance seems to be older, it could have been probably built in the first quarter of the 19th century to mill grain.
It maybe is a primitive machine for our modern days, but on its golden days it was a simple but advanced machine which took advantage of Reka's water and perfectly served the local people.
As many of the watermills in the area, Ukno it worked probably until the half of the 20th century, when more sophisticated machines replaced them by using electricity.
The stone structure it has supported and is still solidly supporting the river's floods and the impacts of different elements such as trees or stones that are dragged by the water.
But there are two critical points that they should be solved as soon as possible. One is the missing of important key stones that supported the walls where the wheels' poles entered inside the watermill and the other is the big fissure that threatens the structural integrity.
Nowadays it is conserved the 80% of the watermill. It is only missing the roof and the watermill's mechanism, but as they were wooden elements they could be easily reconstructed with local wood.
Its reconstruction could make of Ukno, an excellent example to teach how did watermills work once upon a time.
Expeditions to Ukno and Research process
Ukno begins to fly
It could seem an easy reconstruction, but the watermill took a lot of time.
Although the structure is simple: a rectangular building with wooden floors and roof, the most complicated thing was to understand how did the mechanism worked.
We did an initial 3d model, which during the research process it has taken us into a crossroad for it was really complicated to locate the exact position of the mechanism, the store and the bagging areas.
The walls are full of holes, in some of them there were wooden beams supporting their floors but the other holes were part of the milling mechanism. Some holes are just product of missing stones.
That is why we have done an extensive research on different watermills in Slovenia and in other parts of Europe, we have compared Ukno with other watermills nearby and finally we have decided to the most accurate model.
We have reconstructed the wheels and their structure, based on pictures of other watermills just a few meters from Ukno. The internal machine it is also the comparison and study of different mill machines. We tried to respect the local styles to get the most precise image of how it was.
After applying the textures and materials, we did a final study regarding Ukno's roof. On the site we couldn't find any traces of roof tiles, and for sure they didn't use thatched roofs because of the humidity in the canyon (the main goal it was to keep the flour dry).
So after applying some filters on the old picture that Park Škocjanske Jame provided us, we saw stripes and joints distinctive particularities of asbestos roofs.
So we finally applied an asbestos roof to the watermill and we got the best image of Ukno working as in his old golden days.