Ioannina the town of legend, tradition and silver art makers!
Built at the edges of Lake Pamvotis, Ioannina is a beautiful traditional town that combines in a unique way the historical memories with the reality of a contemporary town. The modern buildings and shopping centers coexist with the well preserved buildings of the beautiful old city (around Kastro), the imposing monuments, the picturesque neighbourhoods, the popular-silver 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.
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).
The city also enjoys a modern airport at the distance of 4km from the city center with every-day flights to Athens (1 hr) and three flights per week to Salonica (40 min).
Hot tips for romantic couples: The serenity of Lake Pamvotida will weave a powerful spell over you… Like a stunning mirror of outstanding natural beauty, Lake Pamvotida reflects the splendour of the surrounding landscape in its waters. To take in the most breathtaking view of the lake and the city alike you have to reach the village of Ligkiades, on the slopes of Mitsikeli, opposite Ioannina, ideally when the sun sets!
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Zagorohoria or Metsovo.
More about Ioannina
Ioannina is one of the most beautiful cities of Greece. Surrounded by abundant natural beauty and endowed with rich historical evidence, the city flourished through the times becoming an important financial and cultural center; a historic ‘Metropolis of knowledge’ reknown since the times of the great Byzantine Empire. The city, with a population of approximately 100,000 inhabitants, lies in the middle of a plain (600 m altitude), surrounded by mountains.
Must visit: Experience a world where Jewish, Muslims and Christians have been meeting and mixing over the centuries against the breathtaking backdrop of a castle town that evokes the spirit of a distant past. Take a romantic stroll along the Old Town’s picture-perfect neighbourhoods expanding around the Castle and gaze at the well preserved edifices and monuments, the beautiful squares and the folk art workshops that produce the famous Ioannina silverware. As you enter one of the largest castle towns in Greece through its monumental gates, you will encounter two acropolises, “Epano Goulas” with Ashlan Pasha Mosque and Its-Kale Acropolis, where the Fetihe Mosque built by Ali Pasha during the Turkish occupation lies.
Take a small boat and visit the isle of Ioánnina, in the northeastern part of the city’s lake. There, a colourful settlement with traditional buildings and historic monasteries inhabited by 150 people will
embrace all your senses.
Get acquainted with the modern part of the city through walking along the bustling Averof and Aneksartisías streets. In Ioannina there is a plethora of grand mansions that now house museums, libraries and civil services. The art aficionados should definitely pay a visit to the Archaeological, Folk Art, Byzantine and Vrellis Greek History Wax Museums. The museum is located in the village Bizani on the road Ioannina – Athens in a building built according to the standards of traditional architecture.
The exhibits, made in natural size, impressive the visitor for their plasticity and expressiveness. The themes are drawn from modern history, with emphasis on pre-revolutionary period and the Second World War. Let us not forget to mention that the Archaeological Museum is a candidate for the European Museum Award 2012 granted each year by the European Museum Forum (EMF).
Ioannina the center of traditional silver craft: Over the past centuries, the workshops of the city developed and refined their techniques resulting in the famous “Silver of Ioannina” be recognized as the best kind. The principles of Ioannina art begin at about the history of the city of Ioannina. From reports we know that silver worked in Ioannina from the Byzantine Empire as well as Turkish documents show that in 1430 the Silversmiths industry is at its peak. Throughout the course of history are available for the trading and export business product silver from Ioannina technicians in areas such as Belgrade, Venice, Bucharest, Prague, Vienna and even in Skopje and Russia.
Today in Ioannina are about 90 laboratories that continue to produce handmade works of art using traditional techniques such as:
The famous carved vessels
– The carved religious objects such as lamps and pictures.
– The cast objects like spoons and crockery fresh
– The lights cast
– The wire or filigree jewelry and utensils, made entirely of wire twisted into designs, all by hand technique which is known from years before Christ
– The famous Byzantine jewelry and Archaic.
Activities: Follow a romantic biking route around the lake; go rowing or trekking through an exhilarating mountain path starting from Ligkiades and ending at the peak of mountain Mitsikeli.
Taste: Don’t leave unless you have tasted the mouth-watering traditional dessert “yianniotiko” and cinnamon-infused rakí from the local Women’s Association or indulge in sweet-smelling tsípouro together with the locals. On the islet of Ioánnina you certainly have to taste the gastronomic treasures of the lake, like trout and frogs’ legs.
Accommodation: The city boasts an excellent tourist infrastructure! From family run pensions to elegant luxury hotels or city hotels, a variety of lavish sanctuaries will infuse a romantic atmosphere all over you……
Around the city
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 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 Dodoni, 21 km SW, a famous archaeological site nears 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”.