This mill is an icon, a historic landmark and one of the most prominent buildings in the Jerusalem skyline, especially among those outside the walls of the Old City. Montefiore Windmill is named, as you understand, after the donor who financed its establishment - the British Jewish philanthropist Moses Montefiore. It was built in 1857, about 12 years after the Mishkenot neighborhood was built. The mill was part of a project Montefiore undertook to help the Jewish community in pre-20th century Israel, to provide for its own needs and to gain economic control over its fate.
The Mishkenot windmill is right at the entrance to the old Jerusalem neighborhood. In fact, the mill is the first building built in the city in 1858. Originally it served as a flour mill, but after two decades it stopped grinding and was used for other purposes.
In 1891 the windmill was used as a flour mill. For the grinding of wheat, the Jewish community began using steam-powered windmills. But the abandonment of the mill did not lead to its neglect as a central building in the neighborhood, and it continued to be used for cultural purposes and community service.
In 1948, during the War of Independence, the mill served as a lookout point for Jewish fighters in Jerusalem. The British reaction was harsh, as the windmill was bombarded by the British army, in an attack known as the cynical British "Operation Don Quixote."
In recent years the mill has been restored, and nowadays it is a popular tourist attraction in the city. There is a small museum that tells the story of the life of the mill's initiator, Sir Moses Montefiore. Even a reconstructed model of his chariot, the one from the famous song, is next to it. This is a replica of Montefiore's chariot, since the original chariot, which he used on his travels in the Holy Land, was burned in 1986.
The stone plaza around the mill is an excellent observation point over Ben Hinnom Valley, the place where they used to sacrifice young children. Above it you can see the old city of Jerusalem and of course you can watch the neighborhoods of Mishkenot and Yemin Moshe, nearby.