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Ioannina Travel Guide: 182 reviews and 613 photos

Ioannina & Surroundings

Ioannina and the Zagoria area in North-West Greece is a region of high mountains, deep gorges (the Vikos George is the deepest in the world), beautiful lakes, grey rock traditional villages, and clear water mountain streams.
The disused mosques that are scattered around the region are a reminder of the long period of Turkish domination of the area.
It is not easy to get from place to place in the region. Bus services to some of the smaller towns are infrequent. But if you make the effort, you'll be rewarded with some spectacular mountain scenery, the quietness and tranquility of deep gorges, and traditional scenes that will not be repeated in other parts of Greece.
This is a different Greece. The blue and white of the islands is replaced by a grey slate rock that blends with its surroundings.

Turkish History Biographies

Ali Pasha
1744 -1822, Turkish pasha [military governor] of Yannina (now Ioannina, Greece), a province of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). He was called the Arslan [lion] of Yannina. His father, governor at Tepelene in S Albania, was murdered, and Ali went to live with the mountain brigands who infested the country. He soon rose to leadership among them, came to the attention of the Turkish government, and as its agent put down the rebellion of a governor at Scutari in Albania. About 1787 he became governor of Yannina, where his power grew until he ruled as a quasi-independent despot over most of Albania and Epirus. He made war on the French along the Adriatic coast and entered an alliance (1814) with Great Britain. Valuing Ali's services, the sultan let him do as he wished until, in 1820, Ali ordered the assassination of an opponent in Constantinople. Sultan Mahmud II ordered Ali deposed. Ali refused to comply, thus keeping Turkish troops engaged against himself while they were needed against the Greeks, who had begun their fight for independence. Ali was assassinated by an agent of the Turks; his head was exhibited at Constantinople. The wild yet cultured court of Ali was described by French and English visitors, notably by Byron in Childe Harold.

In the opposite and far corner of the walled town is the innermost citadel, known by its Turkish name, Itz Kale. Within it are the Victory Mosque (Fethiye Cami); the base of a circular tower; the remains of the palace of Ali Pasha, the cruel Albanian who dominated Epirus from 1788 until 1822; and the alleged tombs of Ali Pasha and his wife. The Greek army long occupied this part of the citadel, but its structures have now been restored and there is an interesting Byzantine Museum here, located in two buildings, the virtually rebuilt palace and the harem. The former houses the icons and other church-related objects, the latter concentrates on silver work. Hours are daily from 9am to 3pm; admission is Dr500 ($1.45).

Holocaust Memorial

During World War II Ioannina was the site of heavy fighting, and the city was eventually captured by Germany in 1941.
A small Holocaust Memorial is just outside the citadel, on the corner of Odos Karamanlis and Odos Soutsou.
For me it's going back to roots!!!

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  • Last visit to Ioannina: Aug 1997
  • Intro Updated Dec 31, 2002
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