The current form of the castle of Ioannina is mostly the work of the Ottoman era, incorporating earlier Byzantine structures. Inside the castle there are two citadels.
The palace of the Byzantine rulers of the city was built in the northeastern citadel. Today this citadel is dominated by the mosque of Aslan Pasha (1618). The second citadel is located in the southeast part of the castle and is known as Its Kale, i.e. Internal Fortress. In its center where the seraglios of Ali Pasha stood in the 19th century, now stands the Byzantine Museum, the Fetihe Mosque (1795) and the tomb of Ali Pasha.
Inside the castle, dispersed in the settlement you will also find Soufari Sarai (the riding school of Ali Pasha), the Turkish library, the Jewish synagogue, the ruins of the Byzantine baths, and the house of Pasha Kalou. Bearing witness of the Byzantine past is also the Voimoundos tower in the southeastern citadel and the tower of Thomas, to the right of the main gate of the castle.
The main museum building was constructed in 1960 as a Royal Pavilion in the area of the southeastern citadel, (Its Kale) of Ioannina Castle.
The museum opened its doors in 1995. The collections are: a collection of early Christian and Byzantine sculptures, a collection of excavation finds from Arta, a collection of pottery, a collection of books and manuscripts, a collection of post-Byzantine icons and a silver artifact collection. The silver artifact collection is housed in a 19th century building of the citadel.
Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday 8.00-17.00
The “island” of Ioannina is one of very few inhabited lake islands in the world. Visitors can admire the elaborate Byzantine monasteries with exquisite frescoes, the traditional architecture of the buildings, narrow cobbled streets and the lush natural environment. Here you will also find the home – the ultimate refuge- of Ali Pasha, which now serves as a museum reviving through its exhibits the legend of Kira – Frosini and the end of Ali – Pasha.
On the island you can taste distinct dishes such as eel and frog legs and wander the narrow streets admiring folk art. The connection with the city of Ioannina is a small ferry leaving from the jetty every half hour during the summer months (08.00 – 24.00) and every hour in the winter months (08.00 – 22.00). The boat ride is less than ten minutes and costs 2€ per person.
On the picturesque island of Ioannina lake, you will find St. Panteleimon monastery where Ali Pasha was murdered. It has been configured into a traditional folk house and hosts various objects of daily life from earlier times that are available for guests to admire.
The painting illustrating the delivery of the head of Ali Pasha to the Sultan will catch your attention. There is also a collection of portraits and scenes from his life that have been passed on from visitors to his court. Visitors are impressed with the opening in the floor from where it is considered that the bullet that killed him passed. In the same area you will also find various small items, mementos and related books that you can buy.
Hours of Operation: Daily, 9.00 to 16.00
The Archeological Museum is located in the center of Ioannina in Litharitsia park. It includes findings from the entire region of Epirus from the Stone Age until the Late Roman times. Among the artifacts to admire is the important collection of bronze vessels, small objects of the 3rd century, beautiful exhibits from Dodoni, ancient coins of the area and other ancient Greek cities, as well as findings from excavations of ancient Ambracia, the current Arta. Of particular interest, is the oldest exhibit of the museum, an Achelean double hand ax, (dated 200,000 BC) and the marble sarcophagus from ancient Photic in the region of Thesprotia.
Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday 8.30-15.00
One of the most important caves in the world is located just four km from the center of Ioannina. Discovered in the beginning of last century, it was actually used as a shelter in 1940 by Ioannina residents during the bombing by the Italian.
In 1945 the first scientific-mapping of the cave was carried out by the pair of well known speleologists Anna and John Petrochilou, who had also explored other known caves in Greece. The Perama cave is a horizontal cave with paths of 1 km in length . The various formations of stalagmites and stalactites, the wealth and the combination of colors create a sight of unsurpassed natural beauty.
Hours of operation of the cave: 9: 00-19: 00 daily.
Ticket Price: Adults 7€, Students 3,5€ for a guided tour.
At the 14th km of Ioannina – Athens national road, near Bizani, is the wax figure museum of sculptor Paul Vrellis.
The wax figures of the museum, referring mostly to people and events of more recent Greek history, are life-size and depicted in a realistic representation of the environment of their times.
There are three thematic sections in the museum: the pre-revolutionary period (the Secret School, the foundation of the Society of Friends, the martyrdom of Dionysius Skylosofos etc.), 1821 events (the Thieves, the death of Ali Pasha, etc.) and images from the Second World War (women of Pindos etc.).
April 1st to Sept 30th: 10: 00p.m.-16: 00m.m.
Oct. 1st to March 31st: 09: 30p.m.-17: 00m.m.
Ticket price: Adults 5€, students, senior citizens and children to 12 years old, 3€
The archaeological site of Dodoni with its worldwide historical reputation is one of the greatest ancient temples rescued in a state that helps us understand the function and utility of it.
The origins of the sanctuary date back to the Bronze Age (2600-1200 BC). During the 4th century BC the first temple began being built. However, the sanctuary was renovated in the 3rd century BC by King Pyrrhus. It was at that time, that the prytaneion, the parliament and the theater were built.
Access to this wonderful sight is easy. 22 km of a comfortable car ride from Ioannina via Egnatia guided by proper guidance signs.
Hours of operation: 8:00-15:00
Ticket price: 2€