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Ioannina is a city of Epirus, with a metropolitan population of approximately 100,000, lying on the western side of lake Pamvotis. Ioannina is located 450 km northwest of Athens, 290 km southwest of Thessaloniki and 80 km east of the port of Igoumenitsa in the Ionian Sea.

SITE MONUMENTS

  • LAKE PAMVOTIS: One of the most notable attractions of Ioannina is the islet on Lake Pamvotis. The island is referred to as "little island" by everyone. Passengers are ferried back and forth from the mainland to the island (about a 15-minute ride each way) on small motorboats which run on varying schedules, according to the season (about once every half hour, or more, in the spring and summer, much less frequently in the winter). Tourists can visit the monastery of Agios Panteleimon which has been converted into a museum containing information and paintings, as well as re-creations of Ali-Pasha's lounging and living quarters. Ali Pasha spent the last days of his life in St Panteleimon, waiting for a pardon from the Sultan. The museum is not the only attraction on the island: there are many gift-shops, tavernas, churches and bakeries on the island's winding streets. Some of the people of Ioannina even choose to make the tiny island their yearlong home, with simple rowboats moored outside their homes, or in small marinas, in the event they need to get to Ioannina proper when the motorboats are not running. The island of Ioannina in Lake Pamvotis has six monasteries:
    • St Nicholas (Ntiliou) or Strategopoulou (11 c.)
    • St Nicholas (Spanou) or Philanthropinon (1292)
    • St John the Baptist (1506 AD)
    • Eleousis (1570 AD)
    • St Panteleimon (17 c.)
    • Transfiguration of Christ
  • THE CASTLE: It ιs in the center of the town, and it was the heart of the Despotate of Epirus, and the Ottoman vilayet. The inner castle or citadel bears the name "Its Kale" (from Turkish). Within the castle in the centre of Ioannina city, the mosque of Aslan Pasha houses the Municipal Ethnographic Museum, which includes works of folk art, as well as weapons and swords from the period of the Ottoman occupation of the area.
  • THE CATHEDRAL OF ST. ATHANASIUS: It was completed in 1933. It was built on the foundations of the previous Orthodox Cathedral that perished in the fires of 1820. It is a three-aisled basilica. It has become a place of pilgrimage for the martyrdrom of St George of Ioannina, an orphaned youth hanged in public by the Turks in 1838 for proclaiming his Christian faith.
  • MUSEUM: 10 km south of the city lies the Paul Vrellis Greek History Museum, a museum with wax statues, like the Madame Tussaud Museum in London, England.

LOCAL PRODUCTS

Ioannina is famous throughout Greece for its silverwork, with a plethora of shops selling silver jewelry, bronzeware and decorative items (serving trays, recreations of shields and swords, etc.). The ornate style of the jewelry and artwork tends to reflect more Turkish sensibilities than Greek ones, likely due to the lengthy Turkish occupation of the area.

Ioannina is also one of the few places in Greece where one can purchase a hookah. Native Greeks rarely use hookahs for smoking; they are mainly sold to tourists as novelty items and vary in size from small (3 inches in height) to quite large (4-5 ft. tall). The larger ones in particular can be quite striking, and are often purchased by Greeks and tourists alike to be used as decor. For purchasers who would like to experiment smoking with a hookah, most merchants carry a variety of flavored tobaccos.

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Ioannina and Lake Pamvotis

 

Lake Pamvotis

 

The Castle of Ioannina