Ioannina! The Miraculous Land!

Ioannina is definitely the land that will amaze you with the combined beauties of nature! Rivers… Lakes… Gorges… Ancient Built Stone Bridges… Mountains… Forests… Ioannina is the Land that has it all! A photographer’s paradise! The place that once visited will never be forgotten!

Rich in evidence of its long and illustrious history, the past lives again… and is alive in the people… Is alive in their stories, their music and their way of life. This is a place where yesterday and today blend harmoniously together!

Winters in Ioannina – Photo © Menelaos Sykovelis

This is the place of birth of the most important benefactors, scholars, intellectuals, traders and publishers of Greece and of course contributors to the Greek Enlightenment! The Maroutsis Family, Georgios Hadjikostas, Elisabeth Kastrisogia, Athanasios Psalidas, Georgios Stavrou, Nikolaos Saros, Zosimas Brothers, Manthos and Georgios Rizaris just to name a few.

The land with unlimited places to reveal and unfold like: The City of Ioannina… The Little Island in Lake Pamvotis… The Zagoria Villages… The Rivers… Vikos Gorge… The Cave of Perama… Vrellis Wax Museum… The National Park of Pindus Mountain… The Stone Bridges… The Museums… The Temples… The traditional cafes and restaurants! There is no other place in mainland Greece with as much as Ioannina has to offer!

A little bit of History…

The city of Ioannina was the centre of the Greek Enlightenment (1647-1830). Despite the hard times, the city managed to recover. Its inhabitants continued their commercial and handicraft activities which allowed them to trade with important European commercial centres like Venice and Livorno, where merchants from Ioannina established commercial and banking houses. All four Greek printers in Venice were Ioannites and produced significant books historical, theological, scientific and medical books.

At the same time, these merchants and entrepreneurs maintained close economic and intellectual relations with their birthplace and founded charity and education establishments. The Epirotan Thomas Flanginios (Tomasso Flangini) founded a Greek College in Venice in 1664. These people were to be major national benefactors.

In the 17th century, Ioannina was a thriving city with respect to population and commercial activity. The great economic prosperity of the city was followed by a remarkable cultural activity.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, many important schools were established. The Epiphaniou was established in 1647 by a Greek merchant in Venice, Epiphaneios, the School of Gouma or Goumeios was founded in 1676 by a benefaction from another wealthy Ioannitan Greek from Venice, Emmanuel Goumas which was rechristened the Balaneios by its Rector, Balanos Vasilopoulos in 1725, the Maroutseios opened in 1742 and had been founded by a benefaction by yet another wealthy Ioannitan from Venice, Lampros Maroutsis.

The Maroutseios as the others suffered by the fall of Venice and closed in 1797 to be reopened as the Kaplaneios thanks to a benefaction from an Ioannitan living in Russia, Zois Kaplanis.

Neofitos Doukas a famous Epirot scholar wrote that during the 18th century, every author of the Greek world, was either from Ioannina or was a graduate of one of the city’s school.