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Castle of Ioannina
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The castle of Ioannina is the most important and characteristic monument of the city. It is constructed on a peninsula near Lake Pamvotida. During the Ottoman period Christians, Muslins and Jews co-existed harmonically in the castle. Today most of its parts are preserved; the two citadels with their buildings, the surrounding yard and the settlement. The castle is one of the most densely populated parts of the city. It consists of four sections; the surrounding yard, the northwestern citadel, the southeastern citadel and the old town. The perimeter of the wall is 2000m and covers an area of ​​200 acres.


Short History

The castle was built in 528 BC in the Justinian period but few parts of this period are saved. In 1082 the Norman Bohemund added the two fortified citadels and constructed a moat. In 1788 under Ali Pasha’s rule the castle got its today the form. He built a second wall which along with the 250 cannons made the castle impregnable.


The Castle’s Tour

You enter the castle from the gate at the end of the Averof Street. The crest of Ali Pasha is evident while on the right stands the tower with the Venetian clock. Through narrow alleys and dense-constructed houses you reach the hill of the north citadel. There, at the height with the panoramic view of the lake and the entire city stands the mosque of Aslan Pasha since 1618. At the same spot in the past stood the Orthodox church of St. John the Baptist, which was destroyed in 1611. Today it houses the Municipal Ethnographic Museum, one of three museums inside the castle. On the right spread the Turkish baths, and on the left the Soufari Sarai. The Baths with the typical vaulted dome included the change rooms, a steam room and a restroom. The Soufari Sarai is an impressive two-storey building with a unique architecture that housed the Horse riding school of Ali Pasha. The upper floor was grounded on a system of galleries. It included 50 windows, an exterior stone staircase and wooden roof. The next construction on your way is an imposing building that housed the Turkish library. It was built in the early 19th century and its thriving feature is the vaulted roofs. Leaving behind the north citadel, move towards the fortress Its Kale. Inside the fortress stands the Fetihie mosque since 1618. Next to it you can see the marble base of the family tomb of Ali Pasha. At a short distance, the second museum (Byzantine) is housed in a building that once was Pasha’s seraglio. Next to it lie the ruins of a building where he housed his harem. Other major attractions are: the Galley with the typical chimneys (now houses a traditional cafeteria) and Voimoundos Tower, one of the few remnants of that period.


The Museums

The Municipal Ethnographic Museum

The museum is housed in the Mosque of Aslan Pasha and exhibits local costumes, weaving and silverware collections as well as wood-carved items. Before entering the museum you can see the Turkish barracks, the Baths and a small Library.

The museum is open Monday-Friday: 08:00 - 15:00 (in winter) and 08:00 - 20:00 (in summer). The general admission fee is 3€ and the reduced is 1€ for pupils and students.


The Byzantine Museum

The museum displays findings of the Byzantine and the post-Byzantine periods. You can see coins, icons and objects from the 16th and 19th centuries.

The museum is open daily 08:30 - 17:00 except for Mondays.


Fotis Rapakousis Museum

The Museum is situated opposite the Mosque of Aslan Pasha at the north citadel. It is a weapons’ museum and its exhibits come mainly from the pre-revolutionary period until the Balkan wars. Moreover a small number of various objects such as utensils and coins are exhibited too.

The museum is open daily 08:00 - 15:00 (in winter) and 08:00-20:00 (in summer). The general admission fee is 3€ and the reduced is 1€ for pupils and students.


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