Greece the ideal destination


Ioannina the Ideal Destination

Ioannina

The greater part of the prefecture of Ioannina is made up of mountainous masses, part of which belong to the Pindus range. The plateau of Ioannina and the lake of the same name (ancient Pamvotis) occupy the central part of the prefecture. Major rivers (Arachthos, Aoos, Voidomatis, Kalamas, Louros, Akeronas) cut across the prefecture, in which two important national forests – Vikos Aoos and Vallia Kalda – have been created to protect the rich flora and fauna and diverse ecosystems. The city of Ioannina is the capital of the prefecture as well as of the administrative region of Epirus. It is located on a plateau on the west side of Lake Ioannina. In the early 13th century, it was the capital of the Despotate of Epirus. Between 1788 and 1822, Ioannina was the centre of the Albanian-born despot Ali Pasa. The attractive city continues to be the commercial and cultural centre of Epirus and is renowned for its fine embroidery and metalwork. Among the many attractions for the visitor to Ioannina is the fortress with walls dating from the 11th century, the 19th century cathedral of St. Athanasios with its beautiful iconostasis, the Aslan Pasa Mosque built in 1618 and now used as a museum with rich collections, the Fetiche Pasa Mosque with the tomb of Ali Pasa, the Byzantine Museum and the Archaeological Museum with finds from the ancient towns of Epirus as well as ancient Greek and Roman reliefs. The small island in the lake, with its monasteries, picturesque alleyways and beautiful scenery, is also a major attraction for visitors. Just 4 km. from Ioannina is the Perama Cave, considered to be one of the most spectacular in Europe. With marvellous stalactites and stalagmites, the cave is a labyrinth of passages extending for over 1 km. To the south of Ioannina (22 km.) lies Dodoni, the most important archaeological site of the prefecture. The Theatre, with a seating capacity of 17,000, the Vouleutirio, the Prytaneio and the Stadium complement the Sanctuary, which is considered to be the oldest Oracle of Greece. Metsovo, which lies 64 km. NE of Ioannina, is one of the most picturesque villages of Greece. Built amphitheatrically on one of the highest peaks of Pindos at an altitude of 1,160 m., it is one of the few places in the country where traditional costume is still worn. Visitors to Konitsa (64 km. N), built on the thickly wooded slopes of Mt. Trapezitsa at an altitude of 630 m., can admire the old traditional houses and visit the Folklore Museum, the Mosque of Sultan Suleiman and a Venetian castle. Outside Konitsa, the largest and highest stone bridge in Greece spans the river Aoos. Northwest of Ioannina lies the spectacularly beautiful region of Zagori with its magnificent scenery and 46 picturesque villages. A large part of the region is taken up by the Vikos Aoos National Forest, the flora and fauna of which is protected by international conventions. The natural beauty of the oak-dominated region of Pogoni in the NW of the prefecture attracts many visitors. Deeply steeped in tradition, the area is also renowned for its saint’s day celebrations which retain a unique authenticity. The snow-covered peaks and deep gorges of Tzoumerka is a paradise for lovers of river and mountain sports (kayaking, rafting and mountaineering), a place where the visitor can appreciate the grandeur of nature. One of the most beautiful villages of Epirus – Zitsa (24 km. NW of Ioannina) – is surrounded by vineyards which produce the famous wines of the region. A popular wine festival is held annually in the last week of August. In the east, on the border with Grevena prefecture, Vallia Kalda is the most important national forest in Greece. With 80 species of birds and one of the last habitats in Europe for the brown bear, it is on the list of the 12 most sensitive places in the world in need of immediate protection.

Ioannina

Ioannina

Ioannina