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Fethiye Mosque

Ioannina (Ιωάννινα) (population: 112,486 (2011)) is a beautiful city in Northern Greece whose old town is surrounded by tall defensive walls.


Set atop a 100-metre cliff overlooking the Lake Pamvotida, the capital of Epirus contains an old town with an intriguing history. The city gained prominence in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as the seat of an almost independent state ruled by Ali Pasha of Tepeleni, who successfully rebelled against the central government of the Ottoman Empire, and kept fighting until the end, but was killed by Ottoman soldiers during the siege of his fortress in January 1822, and his head cut off to be sent to Sultan Mahmud II. His grave still stands inside the ancient citadel (the Kastro) and has became a popular tourist attraction.

Ioannina was also a significant trade center, hosting a Greek-speaking Jewish community observing their own tradition and religious rituals. They were neither Ashkenazi, nor Sephardic, but rather indigenous Jews of Greece who have lived on Greek soil for over 2,300 years. At the beginning of the 20th century these Hellenized Jews, known as "Romaniotes" immigrated to the US, mostly to the Lower East Side of New York City, where their little synagogue in Broome St. has remained unchanged from 1927. In March 1944, the Jewish Community of Ioannina was rounded up and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Today the community numbers fewer than 50 members, most of them elderly.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]


  • From Athens by air (45 min), by bus (6 hr, 430 km), by car (4½ hr).
  • From Thessaloniki by bus (3½ hr) or by car (2½ hr).
  • From Albania via Kakavia, it takes about an hour from the border crossing.
  • From Gjirokastër by bus (4 hr).
  • From Meteora by bus (2 hr) departs Meteora at 11:30.

Get around[edit]

The city is small enough to travel through via foot.


  • 1 Castle (Greek: Kastro). The old town surrounded by tall defensive walls overhanging the lake Pamvotida. Ioannina Castle (Q17496804) on Wikidata Ioannina Castle on Wikipedia
  • 2 Archaeological Museum, 6, "25 Martiou" Square. It presents many of the findings from the excavations at Dodona area
  • 3 Municipal Ethnographic Museum of Ioannina, 8, Noutsou Str. Housed in the Mosque of Ali Pasha. The museum collections include craft of local silversmiths, guns, Epirote costumes, rugs and tapestries. The mosque dates from 1618 and still retains its decoration as well as a tall mihrab pointing towards Mecca Municipal Ethnographic Museum of Ioannina (Q6936234) on Wikidata Municipal Ethnographic Museum of Ioannina on Wikipedia
  • 4 Byzantine Museum. Collections of sculptures, icons and other artifacts retrieved from ruined churches and monasteries in Epirus countryside and housed in the inner fortress (Turkish: İçkale), where Ali Pasha built his palace. Byzantine Museum of Ioannina (Q5004703) on Wikidata Byzantine Museum of Ioannina on Wikipedia
  • 5 Fethiye Mosque. The graves of Ali Pasha and his first wife are located inside the mosque. Fethiye Mosque (Q5445951) on Wikidata Fethiye Mosque (Ioannina) on Wikipedia
  • 6 Islet of Ioannina (Nissi). It is the only inhabited islet in the lake Pamvotida , with around 200 inhabitants. Green and peaceful, dotted with Byzantine monasteries, the islet can be reached by a 20-minute boat ride from Ioannina 2 Fishers Wharf. Its main attraction is the 16th-century Pandelimonos Monastery, now the Ali Pasha Museum, where the pasha was killed on January 17, 1822.

Further afield[edit]

  • 7 Perama Cave. A show cave that is 4 km from Ioannina. Cave of Perama (Q16328662) on Wikidata
  • 8 Dodona (25 min away by car). One of the oldest and most important Hellenic oracle sites in Greece with an amphitheater of exceptional acoustics. The well preserved theater is a must-see and hosts theatrical performances. It was built in the 3rd century BC, during the reign of Pyrrhus, and was destroyed by the Roman consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus, in 167 BC. Under Roman rule, it was restored and turned into an arena. Dodona (Q382317) on Wikidata Dodona on Wikipedia
  • 9 Panagia Tsoukas. Remarkable, historical, well-preserved monastery. Fantastic views!


  • Football: PAS Giannina FC play soccer in Superleague, the Greek top tier. Their home ground Zosimades Stadium (capacity 7000) is central in town.


Ioannina is well known for its production of hand-made silver crafts. There are about 90 workshops in the city. Prices are quite high but can drop considerably as vendors expect a bit of bargaining.


  • 1 Toros Steakhouse.
  • 2 Stoa Louli, 78, Anexartisias St., +30 2651 071322.
  • 3 Mystagogia, 44, Koundouriotou St., +30 26510 65325, +30 6977 748479 (mobile), +30 6972 871031 (mobile).
  • 4 Nousia, 1, "Konstantinou Karamanli" Str.
  • 5 Fysa roufa (Φύσα ρούφα), Averof, +302561026262. Daily 07:00-23:30. From €9 per person.







Many hotels and bars have wifi connections or you can use Instabridge application for finding available wifi connections.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Ioannina
Igoumenitsa  W  E  → Metsovo → Meteora
Brindisi ()Igoumenitsa  W  E  KozaniThessaloniki

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