#166 Castle of Ioannina


A landmark of the city of Ioannina, with a long and rich history, is the castle of Ioannina. The fortified construction, combined with the rock formations on which it has been built and along with the waters of the lake which reached up to the castle walls, altogether gave the impression of a natural fortification. The project was complemented by the moat which surrounded it and began from the Monastery of St. Nikolaos of Kopana, the two internal citadels and a series of towers, which can be seen in the interior.


Construction Data

The tower of the central gate

At the entrance of the main gate of the castle, the high tower dominates. Situated in a strategic position to control the entry and exit, while until 1913,a water moat separated it from the land. Moreover, it carried the emblem of Ali on a prominent spot, while on its external side, on an easily visible spot, lies the Venetian clock.

Tower of Voimoundos

At the Southern citadel of Its-Kale, is preserved the tower of Norman conqueror Voimoundos. The round bastion is a stone construction strategically located, which in the years of Ali housed the financial services.

The tower of Thomas

On the outer wall of the castle, integrated in the perimetric wall, is the Tower of Thomas. The stone bastion was built in 1815 by the ruler Thomas Preloumpos. It is a Byzantine construction, built during the period of the Despotate of Epirus, which bears an inscription with the name of the owner.

The Byzantine tower

In the north citadel, near the Aslan Mosque, parts of the Byzantine Tower are found. The fortification work is known by the name "Goulas" and dates back to the Byzantine period. According to the testimonies that were saved, the tower played an important role in the battles which took place over the centuries in the region, while according to the same sources, the tower is part a broader fortification project.

Historical Data

Its construction dates back to the 6th century, in the years of Ioustinianos, while the first written mention is done in 1082 from Anna Komnini, in the year that the Norman crusader Bohemund after having captured the city, proceeded to improve the fortifications by reconstructing the castle and creating the moat around it.

Significant fortifying works are made during the period of the Bishop Thomas Preloumpos, who proceeded with the maintenance of the walls and the construction of turrets in its perimeter.

The composition and the form of the castle is changed dramatically in 1611, after the unfortunate revolution of Dionysios Philosophos, resulting in the expulsion of much of the population while the 18 churches that existed within were completely destroyed.

In 1788, Ali Pasha proceeds in extensive maintenance and restoration works to the castle, setting new standards in the city's fortifications. Projects included other than the restoration of damages, the elevation of the walls to 10m and increasing the thickness. In addition, polygonal towers were constructed at crucial spots.

Additional information of historical, cultural and tourism interest

The rich history of Ioannina and the surrounding areas, the findings and historical prints from various periods of history and the priceless natural beauty, will make your visit to the region a unique travel experience. Ideal place to start this is by visiting the Castle of Ioannina. From the monuments of the castle stand out the Soufari Sarai, which housed the School cavalry of Ali Pasha, and of particular value is also the tower of Voimoundou. Continuing our tour, in the southeastern citadel of the castle, the Byzantine Museum can be found. In the north of the Acropolis castle dominates proudly, one of the leading examples of Islamic devotional architecture, the mosque of Aslan Pasha. In the areas of the impressive monument nowadays is housed the Municipal Ethnographic Museum and in the same complex, in the premises of the seminary (theological school), is housed the museum of Ethnography-Folklore, of Fotis Rapakousis. The castle also has many gates, with great history, which you can visit.

Continuing the tour, outside the castle this time, on the banks of the lake Pamvotida, you will find the historic district Tampakika (traditional workshops). With a walk in the neighborhood of the old market, the visitor will find some of the famous mansions that have survived in the city of Ioannina. Although after the Second World War were destroyed much of the mansions, several survived and now host museums, libraries, public services, giving the city a distinctive architectural splendor. Some of these are the mansions of Pyrsinella, Misiou, Despote, Isminis Tzavella. Unique are also the buildings in which are housed the Zosimaia Academy, the Kaplaneio the School, the School of the Georgios Stavros and the Papazogleios Weaving School. Noteworthy are also the clock, the building of the 8th Division, the City Hall, the neoclassical building in the square, the post office, the Music Academy and the old houses in the Castle, Kaloutsiani and in Karavatia. There are also deserted inns, as the ones of Vrosgou,Thanopoulou, Ntanaka, Dodonis, Maneka, Klitsa, Skordou and Moutsiou. In the area of Kaloutsiani stands out the Mosque of Kaloutsiani,"Kanli Cesme".

Visiting the city, one can experience the rich religious tradition, which has endowed the region of Ioannina with important religious sites, the dating of which reaches up to the 12th century., Indicatively are noted the monasteries of Perivleptos (Assumption, 1647), Archimandreio (Assumption, 14th century), St. Catherine (1771) and the churches of St. Athanasius (19th century) cathedral, St. Nicholas Agoras (17th century), St. Marina (19th century), St. Nicholas Kopanon (19th century), etc.

In Ioannina, visitors can tour the exhibits and learn about their history and the history of the city, apart from the Byzantine, Folklore and Ethnographic museum, also, through the Municipal Art Gallery, the Museum of National Resistance, the Wax Museum and the Archaeological Museum of Ioannina. On the tour, the visitor must include the Lake Pamvotida and the Islet of Ioannina (with the three famous monasteries of Filanthropinon, St. Ntiliou and Saint Panteleimon) and the Perama Cave, to have a complete picture of the city of Ioannina and its history.

Outside the city of Ioannina is developed a network of villages and small settlements, which invite the visitorto meet them. Such areas are the Anatoli, Bafra, Bizani, Katsikas, Koutselio, Iliokali, Kastritsa, Loggades, Kryovrysi, and many others.

Ioannina though, apart from the historical-cultural interest, have gained in recent years a loyal audience, tourists that are visiting the area also for the number of sports, outdoor activities that it offers. Trekking and hiking trails, mountain bike (easy and hard routes), and activities on the lake are just some of the activities in which they can be engaged fans of alternative tourism. Also, one of the most adventurous activities is definitely paragliding, which offers the possibility of air navigation in the hills around the lake, giving the opportunity to capture the stunning landscapes from above.

The visitors, finally, in terms of entertainment, can attend theatrical or dance performances at the Cultural Center of Ioannina, while in terms of food and drinks, a place or places can be chosen from the many focal points, from which stand out those that are housed in the arcades of Louli, Liabey and Mparatsa.