The imposing Castletown of Ioannina is a uniquely preserved historic landmark. It was built by the Emperor Justinian the Great for the fortification of the Byzantine state in 528 AC, and it is the oldest Byzantine castle that operated as a large administrative center in Greece during the time of Ali Pasha. The castle plays an important role for the cultural development of the area, as it is the place where regional Greek education grew, great philosophers taught their theories and chiefs of war studied the art of fighting. Coupled with the great educational history of the monument, inside the walls of this castle a passionate love story arose, since it is the place where Ali Pasha lived with his wife, Kyra-Vasiliki, and fell in love with his son’s mistress, Kyra-Frosini. Legends, myths and traditions will lure its visitor and accompany them as they wander inside its alleys.
Moreover, among the Castle’s houses you will find the Soufari Seraglio, a two-storey building based on a galley system, which was once used as Ali Pasha’s Calvary School. A refreshing stop you would not want to miss is the picturesque café housed in a well-preserved building with chimneys that once housed the kitchens of Itch-Kale, where you can enjoy cool water and beverages. In addition, you can visit the Bohemund Tower, which is one of the most imposing and significant buildings of the Castle, since it was built on the ruins of Ali Pasha’s majestic Serai, that was burned down in 1822.
Besides exploring the foundations of the Castle of Ioannina, you can also visit three of the most important museums of the region inside its gates: The Byzantine Museum in the Itch-Kale Citadel, the Municipal Ethnographic Museum of Ioannina and the Fotis Rapakousis Museum.