Ioannina, the capital of Epirus, is developed around the beautiful Lake Pamvotida. The nature, climate and character of the city are defined by this watery “lady”. The lake, with the calm waters and the small island is a natural monument, around which the whole city lives and breathes.The cultural history of Ioannina, with the great novelists and poets, the artistic and spiritual events, which are organized all year round, give the opportunity for an acquaintance with the roots of its spiritual tradition Epirus.
The routes inside the city, the many attractions and the museums, offer it sense of another era, full of secrets and legends. Wonderful buildings like the Hussein Matei House, the Ottoman Mosque of Veli Pasha and the whole historic center of Ioannina are unique attractions. Ioannina was a multicultural territory, dominated by the Christian, the Islamic and Jewish element. This coexistence has left vivid memories and records in the historic city center. The Loulis Gallery is one of the points in which the three communities collaborated and prospered. The gallery initially functioned as an inn, to be later converted into a large shopping mall of importance for the whole of Epirus
The imposing castle of Ioannina was built in 528 AD. by the emperor Justinian. It is the oldest Byzantine fortress in Greece territory, with an uninterrupted history. Over the years it has evolved into one real state, in which the intellectual life of Ioannina. Ali Pasha lived in the same castle, this emblematic and enigmatic one form of the ottoman empire. His great love for the infamous Lady – Frosini has left a strong echo, which still vibrates her story city.
The castle is divided into four parts: the outer precinct, the northwest citadel, dominated by the Aslan Mosque, the southeastern citadel with the famous Itz Kale and, finally, the Castle City itself, the old, walled city of Ioannina. Overlooking Pamvotida .The walks around the lake are an opportunity to indulge in its power water ∙ enjoy the coolness and serenity offered by the clusters with huge plane trees. The whole lakeside area is an ideal walk, full small shops and great restaurants, which combine fine dishes with the green landscape.
Towards the northern exit of Ioannina, on the axis of Metsovo, is the church of Agios Nikolaos of Kopani, name due to thrashing the clothes made by women in her traditional water mills lake. According to popular tradition, Kyra – Frosini, is the fatal woman of Ioannina.
The road, as it continues, leads to one of the most beautiful caves in Europe, Perama. The cave, which is a product of karst phenomena, has a history of 1.5 million years. The beauty of its cabins is indescribable. The Hall of the Cross, with its limestone pilgrims, it seems almost impossible to have been formed without human intervention; and however, it is a natural sculpture, which literally magnetizes the viewer. THE Hall of Mythical Palaces looks like a fairy house. The crystallization of the ceiling create “chandeliers”, which surprised them with their complex structure and the harmony of shapes. The area around it cave is ideal to gaze at the lake and feel the magic of nature.
The train of Perama connects Ioannina with the picturesque settlement and is a nostalgic choice.
The expression “Pasha in Ioannina” means that one enjoys absolute well-being. It is about condensing, through the vernacular, the impression that Ioannina has always been a rich and aristocratic state. The gastronomic feast of Ioannina is in high demand. The Mainland mountains offer a wide range of herbs and spices, which season the fine raw materials. Lake fish, such as eels and trout, are, along with the particular frog legs, the trademark of Giannioti cuisine.
The traditional sweets of Ioannina are famous throughout Greece. The famous skewer burek, which means sugar pie, the excellent baklava and the rest of the cakes are just some of the flavors that you will enjoy remaining unforgettable. A completely original product, which you can not find anywhere else but only in Ioannina, are the liqueurs without alcohol. This is completely separate liqueurs resulting from the mixing of biological acid with nectar, herbs and fruit aromas. Enjoy them with crushed ice.
How will you get there? Access to Ioannina has been greatly facilitated by the development of the road network. Via Egnatia Odos it is only 3 hours from Thessaloniki, while from Athens there is the possibility of approaching through Patras, from the wonderful route of the Rio Antirrio bridge. You can also come by ferry boat to Igoumenitsa and from there continue by road to Ioannina. Epirus is served by heavy air services from King Airport Pyrros.