Who is Manto
At 25, she was the educated aristocrat who became a passionate rebel. In war she fought like a man, in love she was betrayed like a woman and even her country deserted her after she used her entire fortune to bankroll the revolution. Manto Mavrogenos, a Greek national, was born in Tieste (today’s Italy) in 1796. She had beauty and an aristocratic lineage. Her father, Nikos Mavrogenos, was an established merchant, from Paros. Her mother, Zacharati Hadjis Bati came from Mykonos. The family fled Greece after the beheading of her uncle, a dragoman for the Ottoman Empire.
She was educated and influenced by the western teachings of enlightenment; she was fluent in Italian, French and Turkish. The family returned to Paros in 1809 and became actively involved in the insurrection through the “Filiki Etairia.” At the outbreak of the revolution in 1821, Manto went to Mykonos. She outfitted two of her own ships and financed another 4 Mykonian vessels. Her fleet was the naval force of the Aegean warding off pirates and plunder. With a handful of men, she staved off an invasion from more than 200 Turks on the island. She financed an infantry of more than 800 men and personally joined the battle on the mainland in 1823. As the “Cause” fought on, she met Dimitri Ypsilanti, a main strategist and political force for the revolution. Eventually they shared not only their passion for the liberation of Greece but for each other as well.
They did not hide their relationship and when they were in camp during battles she shared Ypsilanti’s tent. As Greece celebrated victory and independence, Ypsilanti broke off his betrothal to Manto. Some accounts say that it was his men that actually issued an ultimatum that he be rid of this woman who was not a woman by the yardstick for men of this Anatolian culture. Other accounts say that Coletti, of Nafplio, tied her to Edward Blager, the Englishman who bought the first installment of the Greek debt because he feared the political strength of the union of Manto and Ypsilanti. In any case, she left Nafplio with a handful of personal possessions after her home was burgled and burned.
Ioannis Kapodistrias awarded her the title of lieutenant-general and she received a small stipend. She complained that the “benefit” was in the category of a war widow or injured disabled soldier, and it did not even suffice to cover her maid’s salary. She had been betrayed by Ypsilanti and her nation after all her sacrifice. She returned to Paros and lived with the last of her remaining relatives. She wrote her memoirs and lived quietly. She died penniless in 1840, at the age of 44 from typhoid fever. She was buried in the churchyard of the infamous Ekatontapyliani, just a few steps from the little house she last lived.
Eventually, an independent self-governing Greece recognized her tremendous contribution and personal sacrifice that led to the success of the revolution. There are two statues of Manto in Greece; a bust that sits at the south end of the Pedio Tou Aeros in central Athens as well as on her native Mykonos. She is honored with a full-form statue on the island’s central square, that bears her name and faces the waterfront. Most recently she was depicted on the copper 2 drachma coin issued in 2000. Several streets and town squares carry her name. Although she was a member of the “filiki eteria” and used her personal fortune to bring Greece to liberty it is interesting to point out that she would not have been eligible to vote in modern Greece until 1952, when women were granted the right to vote.
Her memory is celebrated in the arts in a 1971 film starring Jenny Karezi, a 12- episode television series that aired in the summer of 1983 staring Katia Danoulaki and most recently in 2011, a staged play in the city of Drama in Northern Greece. In Mykonos, she is affectionately remembered as “Capetanissa” (a female ship’s captain). Carrying her own sword and plunging into the front lines– battle after battle, either on land or at sea, MANTO was a true symbol of freedom. It is hard to imagine today that anyone, man nor woman, would be such a passionate patriot for their homeland.
On the romantic Greek Island of Mykonos, Cine Manto is set in a botanical garden. Home to Mediterranean plants, lily-covered pools and a resident pelican named Petros, it is due to show films such as Captain Phillips and Gravity over the coming months. Between 10am and 2am, a stylish restaurant serves up breakfasts, barbecues, brunch […]Monocle on CineManto
On the island of Mykonos, Andonis Kioukas owns Cine Manto, which is about as perfect as a place can be without sitting atop Mount Olympus itself. “Mykonos is a labyrinth and this used to be jungle”, says Kioukas, shrugging at his surroundings as if they were just an average suburban garden, weeded and given a […]Greece is on Cine Manto
Open-air cinemas are a quintessential Greek summer delight. Where better but the islands to enjoy a Hollywood classic or the latest blockbuster under the stars? You’d think that the strong smell of jasmine and the noisy songs of the cicadas – both heralding the start of yet another Greek summer – would distract you from silver-screen magic […]Lonely Planet on Cine Manto
Need a break from the bars and clubs? Seek out this gorgeous open-air cinema in a garden setting. There’s a cafe here, too. Movies are shown in their original language; view the program online. Source: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece/hora-mykonos/entertainment/cine-manto/a/poi-ent/1518319/1003373Volotea on Cine Manto
The therino (open-air cinema) is an integral part of Greek culture – there are few better ways to kick off a summer evening than watching a film at Cinema Manto under the stars while sipping a gin and tonic (you can smoke too, as it’s outdoors). Set in a walled garden with towering palm trees, fragrant pines, and cacti, the cinema shows films in […]CINE MANTO CAFÉ RESTAURANT
Apart from the open-air cinema, in the Garden, you will find the coolest cafe restaurant on the island, CINE MANTO CAFE RESTAURANT, surrounded by a beautiful garden with an ethereal atmosphere, and great food. It is open all day long, offering the pleasure of greenery, Greek breakfast, barbecue, drinks, brunch and assortments. If you pass […]The owner and donor of the Gardens, Ioannis Meletopoulos
Ioannis Alex. Meletopoulos (1903-1980) was born in Piraeus, to an upper class family. His father Alexandros was an acclaimed historian and although Ioannis worked as a lawyer for the Supreme Court of Greece, he followed in his father’s footsteps doing historical research himself. He was the organizer and for many years served as a curator […]Concert in Delos 2006
A magical night to support a mythical place. Magical music performed on a mythical island under the moonlight. On Monday, August 22nd a very special performance will take place on a very special island. The voice, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, one of Greece’s best contemporary folk singers; the lyrics, from the writing of Greek Nobel laureates and poets; the venue, the ancient […]Petros the Pelican
Petros the White Pelican is the official mascot of Mykonos. In 1954 a wounded pelican was found at the coast Mykonοs by a local fisherman. The pelican was nursed to health and remained on the island supported by locals. It soon adopted the name “Petros”, , as a joke between the locals, as “petro” in Greek means “rock”, “stone” but metaphorically Old and Grumpy. Petros has always been a bit of an enigma as his species of pelican is not indigenous to the island or even the Aegean. To great dis-appointment by locals and tourists alike, Petros was hit by a car on 1985 and failed to recover.