The largest city of Epirus and capital of the prefecture. Built on the northwest side of lake Pamvotida, Ioannina is one of the most beautiful cities in Greece, with an important course in the nation’s history.
The modern buildings and shopping centers coexist with the well preserved buildings of the beautiful old city (around Kastro), the imposing monuments, the picturesque neighborhoods, the popular-art workshops, the pedestrian walkways and the large squares.

Ioannina has a large and thriving academic community which brings a lively and creative dynamism to the city. Daily life in the city is full of intellectual and artistic events. There are also important sports events, mainly held at lake Pamvotida.
The city which is fortified by Byzantine walls was one of the most important cities of the Despotate or Principality of Epirus.
During Ottoman rule, Ioannina enjoyed many benefits, as the city reached its peak and played a leading role in the intellectual resurrection of the nation. A particularly important but enigmatic figure was the Turk-Albanian ruler, Ali Pasha, who left his indelible mark on the city in the late years of Ottoman rule.
Ioannina was liberated from Turkish rule on February 21st 1913, during the 1st Balkan War. It is located 450 km NW of Athens (via Rio-Antirio) and 370 km SW of Thessaloniki (via Kozani).

In the city of Ioannina

In the city of Ioánnina enjoy a long afternoon promenade around the Lake Pamvótis.
Visit the city’s fortress “Kástro” and wander around the Its-Kale Acropolis to find the Fetihé Mosque built by Ali Pashá during the Turkish occupation. Tour the Archaeological and the Epirus Folklore Art museums, or attend art exhibitions in the city’s galleries.
Relish a delicious meal in exquisite dining spots near the lake. Find gifts of fine antique jewelry at the old town, where century-old houses and jewelry shops create a wonderful cityscape. If you are interested in old monasteries, or even exceptional traditional cuisine, take a small boat and visit the isle of Ioánnina, in the northeastern part of the city’s lake.

Around Ioannina

At Perama, 4 km NW, a very frequented touristy village, famous for its silver craft workshops and its popular-art shops. The imposing cave of Perama was discovered in 1940. This cave is one of the largest in the country and contains rare types of stalactites and stalagmites. The Amfithea area has many popular taverns and entertainment clubs.
At Katsika, 6 km SE from the city of Ioannina, a settlement which contains model apiculture and dairy-farm facilities. Its taverns make it a popular destination. The nearby village of Dafnoula provides a wonderful view.
At Ligiades, 12.5 km NE, a village built on mount Mitsikeli, with a wonderful view of Ioannina and the lake. You can follow a wonderful trail down to the historical monastery of Dourahani, on the eastern banks of the lake.
At the villages of Ano and Kato Lapsista, 15.5 and 13 km NW respectively, built on the dried-out bed of the Lapsista lake, with a developed aviculture. Nearby are the ruins of ancient Passarona (ancient capital of the Molossians) and the temple of Peripterou Naou tou Ariou Dios, from the 4th century B.C. Also, at the villages of Metamorfosi-Asfaka-Petsali, 19 km NW, in the Lapsista valley which was created from the exsiccation of the Lapsista morass. The villages are famous for their wine, tsipouro and honey.

At Dodoni, 21 km SW, a famous archaeological site near the village of Dodonoupoli (Mandres), on the foot of the Tomaros mountain. The famous oracle of ancient Dodoni, which was a centre of worship for Zeus, was built adjacent to one of the most ancient chthonic sanctums (the Earth was worshiped here since 2600 B.C.). The priestesses interpreted Zeus‘ oracles from the rustle of the sacred oak tree’s leaves and from the pigeons’ flight.
The renowned ancient theatre of Dodoni is one of antiquity’s largest, with 55 rows of seats and a capacity of 18,000. The theatre was built in the 3rd century B.C. under Pyrrhus, king of the Molossians, who united the Epirus tribes and brought great prosperity to the region. The theatre was used for hosting cultural events which later stopped to avoid its deterioration. A prefabricated theatre has been set up at the archaeological site in order to host the summer events of “Dodonea”.
At Theriakisio, 24.5 km S, a village famous for its mountaineering and climbing activities, built on the edge of mount Tomaros.

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