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Ioannina is the largest city of Epirus, north-western Greece, with a metropolitan population of approximately 140,000.It lies at an elevation of approximately 500 meters above sea level, on the western shore of lake Pamvotis.It is the capital of Ioannina peripheral unit and the Periphery of Epirus.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.

Founded by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD, Ioannina flourished following the Fourth Crusade, when many wealthy Byzantine families fled there in the early 13th century following the sack of Constantinople.It was the capital of the Despotate of Epirus from 1358 to 1416, before surrendering to the Ottomans in 1430.Between 1430 and 1868 the city was the administrative center of the Pashalik of Yanina.In the period between the 16th and 19th centuries, the city was a major center of the modern Greek Enlightenment.Ioannina joined Greece in 1913 following the Balkan Wars.

The city has both a General and a University Hospital,and is the seat of the University of Ioannina (situated 5 km south of the city, with 17 departments and 20,000 students) as well as several departments of the Τechnological Educational Institute of Epirus,the headquarters of which are located in Arta.The city's emblem consists of the portrait of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian crowned by a stylized depiction of the nearby ancient theater of Dodona.The city's formal name, Ioannina, means "Town of John" in Greek.There are two name forms in Greek, Ioannina being the formal and historical name, while the colloquial and more commonly used Jannena or Jannina represents the vernacular tradition of Demotic Greek.

How to Reach

By Air

Ioannina National Airport (IATA: IOA, ICAO: LGIO) is an airport located four kilometers from the city center of Ioannina, Greece.Its new name is Ioannina National Airport - King Pyrrhus, from the former King Pyrrhus of Epirus.It mainly receives charter flights during the summer period.

By Road

The Via Egnatia highway (part of the E90) passes by Ioannina.It links Igoumenitsa (port) with the Turkish border.

By Ferries

Air Sea Lines flies from Lake Pamvotis to Corfu with seaplanes.Air Sea Lines has suspended flights from Corfu to Ioannina for 2007.

By Bus

Long-distance buses (Ktel) ride daily to Athens (7 hours) and Thessaloniki (3 hours).

Key places to visit
Islet of Pamvotis lake, The Island Museum, Cathedral of St Athanasius, Jewish Synagoge of Ioannina


Places to Visit

Islet of Pamvotis lake

One of the most notable attractions of Ioannina is the islet on Lake Pamvotis.The island is referred to as "Nisaki" (  "little island") by everyone, including its inhabitants.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 Island 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: the monastery of St Nicholas (Ntiliou) or Strategopoulou from the 11th C, the Monastery of St Nicholas (Spanou) or Philanthropinon from 1292, St John the Baptist (1506 AD), Eleousis (1570 AD), St Panteleimon (17th C) and of the Transfiguration of Christ (1851 AD).The monasteries of Strategopoulou and Philanthropinon functioned also as colleges.In the latter taught Alexios Spanos, the monks Proklos and Comnenos and the Apsarades brothers, Theophanis and Nektarios.The school continued its activities until 1758, when it was superseded by the newer collegial foundations within the city.

Cathedral of St Athanasius

The Cathedral of St Athanasius was completed in 1933.It was built on the foundations of the previous Orthodox Cathedral which was destroyed 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.

Jewish Synagoge of Ioannina

During the Ottoman period, the Jewish community, both Sepharadi and Romaniote, experienced a flowering.The Jews of Ioannina were an active presence in the city's life until March 1944, when the German occupation troops arrested the entire population, 1,870 strong at the time, along with Jews from Preveza, Arta and Corfu, and deported them to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where most perished.Today the community compirises about 60 persons and the synagoge lies inside the Castle of Ioannina. Date 7th Century.

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