Ioannina (Greek: Ιωάννινα, often Γιάννενα Giannena, Yiannena or Γιάννινα Giannina, Yiannina ; Albanian: Janinë or Janina; Aromanian: Ianina, Bulgarian: Янина Janina) is a city in and capital of Epirus, Greece, with a population of approximately 100,000 and lies at an elevation of 600 metres above sea level. It is capital of a prefecture with the same name. The city lies on the western side of Lake Pamvotis (Greek: Παμβώτιδα). Ioannina possesses one of the most numerous amount of municipalities and communities in all of Greece. It is bordered by Albania in the north, Kastoria in the northeast, Grevena in the east, the prefecture of Trikala in the east, Arta in the southeast, Preveza in the south and the prefecture of Thesprotia in the southwest and west. It is the largest prefecture in Epirus. (Covering almost half of Epirus.)
The city has a General and a University Hospital; a University named University of Ioannina (5 km south of the city) with 16 departments (http://www.uoi.gr/oldsite/profile.html) and 13,000 students; as well as several departments of the Τechnological Educational Institute of Epirus (http://www.teiep.gr/English_Site/teiep_en.php), the headquarters of which are located in Arta.
The wireless network operating in the city is called Ioannina Wireless Network. It was founded at the end of 2002 and began operations in 2003.
The city is associated with Ali Pasha, the Ottoman-appointed ruler of Albania, Macedonia and Thrace, who was killed in 1822 by the Sultan's agents in the Moni Panteleimonos on the island at the center of Lake Pamvotis.
Ioannina is famous for its spring water Zagori which is sold over much of Greece.
The city's logo is orange and white with an the omicron, the last letter of the Greek alphabet (it corresponds with the English letter "o") and portrays an orange drop on the top.
Ioannina (Janina) is mentioned in the book The Count of Monte Cristo.
1913 liberation of Ioannina, Kilkis, Serres, Drama, Kavala
The House of Lord Byron during his visit
The geography of the region is rugged and mountainous, made up of mountain ranges including Tymfi in the northeast, Lakyos in the east, Xerovounio (Greek for dry mountains), Tomaros in the southwest and the Grammos mountains in the far north. The 40th parallel crosses between Delvinaki and Konitsa. Much of the land lies south of the 40th parallel.
The mountains dominate the east, north, west and south. Fertile lands dominated the areas within Ioannina.
The prefecture of Ioannina, like most of the Greek mainland, is, mostly for lack of publicity and familiarity, not as popular as the islands among tourists. Yet the area, along with its natural beauty, has quite a few worthwhile and interesting historical attractions.
Botanically, the region of Ioannina is dominated by robust, fragrant pine trees, many of which grow within the city itself, especially around the old castle, or fortress walls. The bizarre layout of the castle's streets, with roads going in circles or leading to dead ends was supposedly designed to confuse pirates of old who breached the castle walls, so that they would get lost within the fortress, and be captured before escaping with their booty.
The Moni Panteleimonos monastery (which was once Ali-Pasha's secret hideout) is now a museum containing paintings, information, and even re-creations of Ali-Pasha's living quarters on his island hideaway. Passengers are ferried back and forth from the mainland to the island (about a 15 minute ride each way) on small motorboats which run on varying schedules, according to the season. (About once every half hour, or more, in the spring and summer, much less in the winter.) The museum is not the only attraction on the island--there are many gift-shops, tavernas, churches and bakeries on the island's quaint, winding streets. Some of the people of Ioannina even choose to make the tiny island their yearlong home, with simple rowboats moored outside their homes, or in small "marinas", just in case they need to get to Ioannina proper when the motorboats are not running.
In the city
Ioannina is famous throughout Greece for its silverwork, with many shops selling beautiful silver jewelry and decor (serving trays, recreations of shields and swords, trinkets, etc.) at quite reasonable prices. The ornate style of the jewelry and artwork reflects more Turkish, rather than Greek, sensibilities, due to the long Turkish occupation of the area. Ioannina is also one of the few places in Greece where one can purchase a hookah, a water-filled device which can be packed with ordinary or flavored tobaccos, and were very popular with the Ottomans during their occupation of the region. Hardly any Greeks smoke using hookahs; they are sold mainly to tourists as novelty items. The hookahs vary in size from tiny to enormous (sometimes 4-5 ft. tall) and are often quite attractive, even as a piece of decor if the purchaser chooses not to actually smoke out of one, or just don't smoke, period. For those who would like to experiment smoking with a hookah, most hookah merchants carry a wide variety of various flavored tobaccos.
Within the castle in the centre of Ioannina city, the mosque of Aslan Pasha houses the Municipal History Museum, which includes works of folk art, as well as weapons and swords from the period of the Ottoman occupation of the area.
"The first view of Joannina seen in the morning light, or glittering in the setting sun, is lively and alluring. The houses, domes, and minarets, shining through gardens of orange and lemon trees and groves of cypresses; the lake, spreading its broad mirror at the foot of the town, and the mountains rising abrupt around, all combined to present a landscape new and beautiful. Indeed, where may be its parallel? the lake was the Acherusian, Mount Pindus was in sight, and the Elysian fields of mythology spread in the lovely plains over which they passed in approaching the town". Lord Byron in Greece
Outside the city
Ioannina is home to many Orthodox Christian churches, and to a mosque and synagogue.
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