The city’s foundation has traditionally been ascribed to the Byzantine EmperorJustinian in the 6th century AD, but modern archaeological research has uncovered evidence of Hellenistic origins. Ioannina flourished in the late Byzantine period (13th–15th centuries). Part of the Despotate of Epirus following the Fourth Crusade, many wealthy Byzantine families fled there following the sack of Constantinople, and the city experienced great prosperity and considerable autonomy, despite the political turmoils. It surrendered to the Ottomans in 1430. Between 1430 and 1868 the city was the administrative center of the Pashalik of Yanina. In the period between the 18th and 19th centuries, the city was a major center of the modern Greek Enlightenment. Ioannina joined Greece in 1913 following the Balkan Wars.
The city has both a General and a University Hospital, and is the seat of the University of Ioannina (situated 5 km (3 mi) south of the city, with 17 departments and 20,000 students) as well as several departments of the Τechnological Educational Institute of Epirus, the headquarters of which are located in Arta.
The city’s emblem consists of the portrait of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian crowned by a stylized depiction of the nearby ancient theater of Dodona.
Museums and Galleries
The National Archaeological Museum of Ioannina, Litharitsia Castle Square. Includes archaeological exhibits from four regional units of Epirus. You can see here the history of Epirus from prehistoric times through the 19th century. Notable exhibits include palaeolithic tools, finds from Dodona, bronze vessels and votive bronzes and Frankish/Byzantine capitals taken from a church of that period.
The city’s Byzantine Museum is housed in a building rebuilt on the ruins of the seraglio of Ali Pasha in Its Kale, which were completely destroyed by fire in 1870. The museum opened in 1995 in order to preserve the findings of the wider region of Epirus, chronologically covering the early Christian, Byzantine and post-Byzantine period. The museum’s cultural center hosts musical and theatrical events, and issues periodic reports, among other activities. The collections include early Christian and Byzantine sculptures plus exhibits of the arts, ceramics, books, pictures and a valuable collection of silverware. During the summer season the museum operates Mondays 12.00-19.00 hours and other days 08.30-19.00. The museum is accessible to people with disabilities.
The Municipal Ethnographic Museum and its three departments, Greek, Ottoman Muslim and Jewish is hosted in Aslan Pasha Mosque, in the castle. Of particular interest are the Epirote costumes on display. The Museum of Fotis Rapakousis is located in the Aslan Mosque complex. By agreement between the city and the collector, the collection has been hosted on these premises since 2000, in cooperation with the Municipal Folklore and Ethnographic Museum, housed in the Aslan Mosque. The entire collection contains 6,000 objects, grouped in four categories: weapons with their accessories, jewelry from the 18th and 19th centuries, ceramics (Islamic art pottery of Greece, Tsanak Kale) Opening hours: 9:00 to 16:00.
Near Ioannina, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south of the city, lies the Pavlos Vrellis Greek History Museum, a wax museum which covers events and personalities from Greek history. Established in 1995, this second Museum of Pavlos Vrellis (died 2010) is the result of the personal work of one man.
The Municipal Art Gallery of Ioannina (Dimotiki Pinakothiki): Housed since 2000 in the Pyrsinela neoclassical building, built in 1890. Basil Pyrsinella who served as mayor of Ioannina, donated his movable and immovable property in 1958 to the municipality of Ioannina. In 1960 he created the first Regional Municipal Art Gallery in Greece. The gallery’s collection displays major modern works of painters and sculptors, collected through purchases and donations from various collectors and artists. This includes about 500 works, paintings, drawings, prints, pictures and sculptures.
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