What is Ioannina?
“It is the city that sprang from the fairy tales, it is the legends and the mystery, it is the rain and the gray fog, it is the sunshine in the green landscapes and the spring in the stone alleys, it is the sweet summer nights by the lake, the sound of jack and the call of night birds, is the smell of wood from the winter fireplaces and the smell of linden in the summer on the balconies “
Ioannina with its countless attractions, rich natural beauty and countless activities, is a city that hardly anyone will visit only once. The aura of the city magnetizes you and you become hers forever. The options it offers you are so many that you will never get bored because apart from what you can see and do in the city it is the ideal starting point for day and non-excursions: in 30-60 minutes you are in Metsovo for skiing, for mountaineering in Zagoria, hiking in the gorge of Vikos, for rafting in Arachthos, for food in Tzoumerka for fish in Preveza, in Sivota for beach party, for a drink on the beach of Parga
When should i come?
The climate and the natural environment of Ioannina change so much depending on the season that the city is transformed and you can feel that every time you are in another place. The diversity of the climate is felt many times even during a 24 hour period and it is said that in this city one can live all 4 seasons during a day
The first feeling that wakes up when you arrive in Ioannina in summer is the smell … the city is flooded by the smell of linden since the streets of the city are full of them. Linden and jasmine in all neighborhoods. In summer it is ideal if you prefer to cool off from the heat as the temperatures during the day are summery but in the evening you usually need a thin jacket. The city lives in summer rhythms, the streets and the market are full of tourists and visitors. From noon until late in the afternoon the cafes are full of life, especially those located near the lake and the coolness of the plane trees and the evening starts with tsipouro and wine in the traditional tsipouro restaurants. The inner courtyards, sidewalks and streets are filled with tables and chairs and the fun continues until the morning in the summer bars of the city. It is the ideal season for lovers of traditional music since almost all summer long and especially in August the festivals in the surrounding villages are countless. Various events take place in the city almost every day: concerts, theatrical performances, exhibitions, festivals, etc. Apart from life in the city, if you are in Ioannina in the summer, do not forget to take a walk to Papigo for diving in the natural swimming pools but also for those who prefer the sea in 30 minutes, the nearest beach is located.
Autumn is the season that makes this city seductive! The colors are enchanting and the melancholy of nature captivates you. The fog spreads from the cobbled streets to the lake and the shadows that appear in this cloudy landscape are the ones that gave birth to the legends of Ioannina. A fairytale setting with fog and gentle autumn rain, the deep orange color of the leaves and the smell of fresh soil … an irresistibly romantic experience for anyone in Ioannina at this time of year.
This melancholy aura does not drop in the slightest the rhythms of the city since it is the period when the 20,000 students return and flood Ioannina.
The snowy Mitsikeli guards the icy Ioannina in winter and the temperatures are often very low, the nature is fierce, the storms are intense and last but it is the reason that the rain lovers fall in love with Ioannina. The other face of winter is the sunny mornings that are ideal for a walk in the alleys and the market and the clean atmosphere that offers, to those who are at the highest points, the wonderful view of Ioannina to embrace the lake. At night the air smells of burnt wood and often the fog swallows the city adding mystery and eroticism filling the warm, stone and wood shops with friends. At Christmas the whole city is filled with lights, music and visitors who may be lucky enough to see the city dressed in white. Luckier will be those who will be in winter in Ioannina and will have the opportunity to see Pamvotida icy, something that happens very rarely of course but the landscape is dazzling because in addition to the icy lake are frozen trees and benches next to her.
Spring comes timidly and paints the wild winter landscape with all its colors. The grass sprouts green and the branches begin to fill with leaves, the almond trees are flooded with white flowers and yellow, purple and red flowers are thrown from everywhere while the lakeside road becomes a painting with the dense plane trees covering it and the lake waters filling it. Wild ducks and rare birds of the wetland. The atmosphere smells of rose and lilac and the first tables in the streets and squares begin to appear. Excursions to the surrounding villages, rivers and monasteries are a must this season and if you are in Ioannina Easter let the local traditions seduce you and live these days in the rhythm of the locals.
Ioannina is the capital and largest city of the prefecture of Ioannina and Epirus with a population of 111,740 inhabitants. The city of Ioannina is located in the northwestern part of mainland Greece, in the center of the homonymous basin built on the shores of Lake Pamvotida, at an altitude of 480m. It is one of the largest cities in Greece with a rich cultural tradition.
The first signs of human activity in the area of Ioannina are found from the Paleolithic Age (38,000 years ago). This has been proven by the stone tools found in the cave of Kastritsa. The city was founded in the 6th century by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian.
Important historical facts:
510 AD Foundation of the city by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian
6th c.- 7th c. Slavic raids
1082 AD The city was occupied by the Normans
1108 AD The city was liberated by Alexios Komninos
13th c. Establishment of the Despotate of Epirus
1337-1340 Andronikos III Palaiologos with the help of Ioannis Kantakouzinos overthrows the Despotate of Epirus and Ioannina falls under Byzantine control
1367 Ioannina comes under Slavic control
1430 Conquest by the Turks
February 21, 1913 Ioannina was liberated during the Balkan Wars and integrated into the Greek State
1943 During the German occupation, almost the entire Jewish community in the city was sent to concentration camps in Poland and Germany, but few returned. The Jewish Synagogue of Ioannina is preserved
1970 The University of Ioannina is founded
Walk in Ioannina today
Ioannina is a modern city, an important economic and cultural center, as it hosts numerous cultural events: festivals, exhibitions, conferences and a place full of life all year round.
But in order to get to know the city and its culture in depth, one has to live for a while with the rhythms of the locals, to walk in the market and the recently pedestrian streets, to drink coffee in the small cafes between the shops, to get lost in narrows of the old market and the castle, to walk by the lake, to drink tsipouro and to try the local snacks.