Places to Visit
The city of Ioannina, with a population of 111.740 residents, built on the banks of Lake Pamvotida, is the capital of the region of Epirus. In a relatively short distance from Ioannina, the visitor can admire both the natural beauty of the mountainous Epirus and the wonderful beaches of the Ionian Sea. Sightseeing to visit in Ioannina:
CASTLE OF IOANNINA
The castle of Ioannina, the most ancient Byzantine castle, was built in 528 AD to fortify the Byzantine Empire, according to the plans of Emperor Ioustinianos. In the age of Ali Pasa was the largest administrative centre of the whole Greece. Inside the castle, the Greek letters noted particular growth, great teachers of tou Genous offered their teaching and great chieftains studied the art of war.
Also in this place, Ali Pasa lived his great love with kira-Vassiliki and fell in love with the mistress of his son, the kira-Frosini. The castle, sightseing of great historical importance consists of four parts: the outer enclosure, N.E. acropolis with Aslan Mosque, S.E. acropolis with Its Kale and the old town of Ioannina. Within the walls it extends to about 200 acres and its perimeter is 2,000 meters.
ISLET OF IOANNINA
The islet is an integral part of the history of Ioannina and is directly connected with the history and the death of Ali Pasa. There are seven monastic clusters: The Monastery of Saint Nikolaos of Philanthropinon (1292), Monastery of St. Nikolaos, Monastery of Eleousis (15th century), Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, Monastery of Prophet Elias on the hill, Monastery of the Assumption and Monastery of St. Panteleimonas.
In the cells of the latter monastery, there are the holes from bullets thrown against Ali Pasa, in his attempt to be rescued by the siege of Hoursit Pasa. In these monasteries and especially in the Monastery of Saint Nikolaos of Philanthropinon, post-Byzantine wall paintings and illustrations of the seven philosophers of antiquity are maintained.
CAVE OF PERAMA
The cave of Perama is one of the most important caves in the world. It is located 4 km from the centre of the city of Ioannina and it is already known from the beginning of the last century. In 1940, residents used it as a shelter to escape the bombings of Italians.
In 1945 the known speleologists Anna and Ioannis Petrochilos carry out the first scientific mapping of the cave. It belongs to horizontal caves with a length of routes about 1 km. It has wonderful natural beauty, thanks to the formations of stalagmites and stalactites, the variety and combination of colors.
Zagori is a beautiful area in the mountains of Epirus. It is located behind the mountain Mitsikeli of Ioannina. Its name means "the place behind the mountain" and has a Slavic origin. It consists of the words "za" that means behind and “gari” that means mountain.
Zagori with a total area of 1053 sq. km, has an altitude ranging from 500 to 2,500 meters with the Gamila of the mountain range Tymfi to be the highest peak. It consists of 47 traditional villages of exceptional beauty, like Monodendri, Vikos, Tsepelovo, Small and Grand Papigo, Kipoi, Dilofo, Koukouli, Upper and Lower Pedina, Vitsa, Vrisochori, Negades, Skamneli, Laista, etc.
The waxwork museum Pavlos Vrellis is located in the 14th km of the national road Ioannina-Athens, close to Bizani. The waxwork of the museum are life size and in a faithful representation of the environment of their times, reviving figures of history. The museum consists of three thematic sections: the pre-revolutionary period, the events of 1821 and images of the Second World War.
ANCIENT THEATER OF DODONI
The ancient theater of Dodoni in Epirus is one of the largest and best preserved ancient greek theaters. The capacity of the theater is 18,000 spectators. The theater of Dodoni was part of the Panhellenic sanctuary of Dodoni and was constructed in the 3rd century B.C. by King Pyrros of Epirus (297-272 B.C.) who wanted to decorate the areas of his kingdom with architectural monuments and buildings.
The theater suffered successive disasters, reconstructions and formations in the centuries that followed the decline of the kingdom of Epirus and during the Roman conquest was used as an arena. The first excavations and restorations of the ancient site of Dodoni began in 1875 and continue until today. Nowadays the theater of Dodoni hosts some performances during the summer months. The ancient theater Dodoni is located 22 km from Ioannina.