Dovecotes, works of art of the island
Once upon a time Manthos Prelorentzos lived in Athens, since one day he decided to go back to the place he came from, the beautiful island of Tinos. Although he had studied mechanical engineering, his return to the island gave him the courage he needed to follow what he really loved, so he became a Taekwondo teacher. His dream came true and he used to train both kids and adults, who were made to love this sport from the first year and continue training for years to come. He worked hard and the response came as participating in Panhellenic Championship and Cups, organized by the Hellenic Taekwondo Federation, every year, he managed to earn several medals, proving that following what you love is a road that leads to success.
However, he had not only one love, his heart was divided into two, martial art and nature. Thus, active Manthos did not take long to start hiking and climbing. Through the club he organized climbing lessons in Exombourgo and hiking every month on the island. Through hiking, he discovered a complex network of trails that Tinos has. Our hero was enchanted by their beauty and of course he didn’t remain idle. He started a project aiming at the recording of all the dovecotes of the island.
Dovecotes are unique works of folklore art that are not found anywhere in the world per parcel of land, except in this small island of the Cyclades. It is said that until today he has recorded about 880 dovecotes, with their coordinates and thousands of photographs. The number of the dovecotes looks huge and it makes you wonder: “Did the hero of this fairytale have magical powers and got around to doing all this? Did he eat spinach like Popeye and had uncontrollable powers to keep it up?” The answer is: “No.Because this is not a fairytale, but the reality of Mr Manthos Prelorentzos, who has been active on the island of Tinos for 5 years”. Through the maintenance of the climbing field of Exombourgo and his occupation with the project of the dovecotes he has offered a lot to the island and his residents.
ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE HERO OF
-Mr Prelorentzos, why did you decided to move to Tinos?
The main reason was my love for this island and the pleasant experiences I had as a young boy spending my holidays here in Tinos. This is why it is important for all of us to strive so that children have as pleasant experiences as possible in order to love the place and growing up to appreciate it and in turn to offer to it. The second reason was the quality lifestyle offered by Tinos and the opportunity that gives you to express in a creative way the abilities you have.
-Was it an easy task to deal with martial arts on the island?
There was the experience since the time I was in Athens but I had second thoughts if in Tinos parents and children would accept the Taekwondo as it was unknown to the local society. Fortunately as early as the first year there was a satisfactory response, since it is not considered a simple martial art, but a sport and indeed an Olympic one with thousands of athletes around the world.
-Do you have some help with the project you have started for three years with the recording of the dovecotes or you have taken it on entirely yourself?
I have taken it on entirely myself as I had to walk the whole island inch by inch not to miss any dovecote. For me, they are real works of art which I wanted to see personally so I didn’t mind if someone helped me. As you can see it is quite painful and time-consuming for someone who doesn’t have your “passion” to be able to follow and search all the dovecotes of Tinos. There were just some isolated cases, which I appreciated, when some people, knowing my project, pointed some dovecotes to me in order to go and see them.
-How much time will your project take to complete?
I can say that it is almost finished. There are only a few photos of dovecotes pending. Their number is finally 880. I can say with certainty that the deviation of this number (if I have forgotten some) is about 2%. It took me almost 3 years to record them and this was done with systematic search. I had separated the island in several parts and I explored each of them almost every day. I double checked most of these areas to make sure I didn’t miss any.
-Will your research be somehow available to us so that we can study it?
I have already started preparing a photo album. In a short time it will be ready. The next step will be to find some sponsors to fund it, because its publication is quite expensive. Hoping for some financial help, the book will be affordable to anyone, so that those who admire these handmade art works can have them all in one book.