Metsovo is a mountain village standing at an elevation of 1,160 meters, 56 km east to Ioannina. Its population is mostly Arumanian and thus, besides Greek, speaks a Rumanian dialect. Though it is now visited during the day by loads of tourists, in the evening it has kept a great part of its special aspect and life.
Perama cave is 4 km out of Ioanina in the direction of Metsovo and can be reached by bus n° 8. It is considered as one of the most beautiful caves in the Balkans. The visit is on almost 2 km of galleries and gigantic rooms, illuminated in order to enhance the outstanding concretions. When we visited, the guide gave its explanation only in Greek which is not a real problem for those who have already visited this type of caves elsewhere (I visited several in France). Recent visitors report the same. Explanations are not really needed! A visit not to miss!
Sorry, I did not take any photo!
Kyra-Vassiliki as presented by Pavlos Vrellis in his Waxwork Historical Museum.
Vassiliki was saved after the intervention of the Patriarch of Constantinople who took her under his protection and later, in 1830, she came to the first liberated Greek State and was honoured by the first Governor of Greece, but soon she was completely forgotten… She died alone, poor and abandoned in 1834, in a village of Western Greece…
Ali-pasha museum is dedicated to this sad story. One could see the bullet holes on the floor where Ali was killed. Unfortunately the building was destroyed by the fall of a huge tree and it was rebuilt on exactly the same style.
There are also carpets, clothes and some other related articles preserved, as Ali’s palace and the harem building were completely destroyed by the forces of Hursit-pasha.
During the clashes between Ali-pasha and Sultan Mourat II, Ali did not accept the order to go and submit to Sultan within 40 days. His army was defeated by Hursit-pasha and he was closed in the Castle of Ioannina threatening that he would blow up the powder magazine together with his treasures. He burned down a great part of the city to watch better the movements of his enemy. He knew that Hursit-pasha had orders to bring his treasures to Sultan, and that Hursit-pasha would not go without them. So Hursit did not attack the Castle, and pretended of asking for negotiations. Ali-pasha with his wife Vassiliki and some loyal bodyguards passed to the island and settled into a building of St Panteleimon monastery. According to a legent, there was an underground passage joining his palace with the island. A squad of soldiers came to the island on a boat, pretending of bringing a letter of forgiveness, and killed Ali-pasha firing from below through the wooden floor. Ali-pasha died in the arms of Vassiliki… All his bodyguards were slaughtered, his beautiful wife was caught and she was sent to Sultan together with Ali’s head and the rest of the harem. But Hursit-pasha did not enjoy his victory: He also lost his head because a great part of Ali’s treasures was not found…
Kyra-Vassiliki (=Lady Vassiliki) was caught by Ali-pasha and brought to his harem in 1805, when she was 12 and he was 61. She was Christian, daughter of a rich man of Filiates and one of her brothers became an important fighter of freedom. Old Ali fell in love with her, respected her religion, made a Christian chapel for her in the harem and was bringing to her priests and teachers for her education. She was in touch with some important and well educated Greeks. She was very beautiful and very clever and soon she became a member of the secret Greek revolutionary society Filiki Eteria, but stayed devoted to her master. She had a great influence on Ali and was the only person that could calm up this violent and cruel oldman. She saved many people of death and many times served the revolutionary Greek struggle by changing the mind of her master.
Arriving at the dock of Ioannina we see the boats plying the lake. Communication is very frequent and it takes about 10-15 minutes to reach the island. The island has an area of about 35 hectars and is inhabited by about 120 families. It is the only inhabited lake-island of Europe. The village is very beautiful with stone paved streets and gardens full of flowers; the pine forest surrounding it creates a dreamy picture. Traditional stone houses, paved yards, whitewashed stone benches, and flowers, flowers, flowers…
The first habitants that came to the island were some noble and educated refugees from Constantinople, after the collapse of Byzantine Empire by the Crusaders. The island and the monasteries on it became a cultural centre of Greek Enlightenment, under the protection of the Seigniory of Epirus. Some important schools were established here. Other habitants migrated here from Mani in the 17th century. Today their main occupation is fishing and fish-farming. There are also some folk art shops.
On the lakeside there are picturesque traditional taverns with a variety of lake fish, trouts, crayfish, eels and … frogs! Oh, Yes! If you are brave enough to taste this last dish, you will find it delicious! You will have an unforgettable dinner watching the lake!
On the island there is the house where Ali-pasha was killed, in the monastery of Aghios Panteleimon. The house has been turned to a small museum.
On the island one can also visit:
- Filanthropinon monastery (1292 AD).
- St Nikolaos or Stratigopoulou monastery.
- St Nikolaos or Goumaton monastery.
- St John the Baptist monastery
- St Panteleimon monastery.
A left turn inside the Plateia Giorgio gate onto Odos Ioustinianou leads (in about 2 blocks) to the Synagogue. Dating from 1790, this white-walled synagogue, with a Hebrew inscription above its locked door, will be interesting to those willing to track down someone who can let you in--try asking at the shop of Mrs. Allegra Matsa, Odos Anexartisias 18 (tel. 0651/27-008). The Jewish community of Ioannina traces its origins to Jews who came here at least by the 13th century. The Germans removed all 5,000 or so in 1941 and took them to labor and extermination camps. After the war, about 150 survivors came back, but today only some 100 Jews still live in Ioannina.
On the north of the lake "Pamvotis" we have the picturesque island, where almost 120 families are living at the traditional village with the narrow roads and the courtyards full of flowers. The island is connected to the city on a daily basis with small boats, since it is only ten minutes away.
The area of the Island in the Lake of Ioannina was a monastic site during the Byzantine period. Seven more monasteries dating from several periods are preserved on the Island but the monastery of Agios Nikolaos seems to be the most important of all.
The visitor must visit the castle, the lake with its picturesque island, the Byzantine Museum, the Cave at Perama, the Wax Museum of Vrellis, and the ancient theatre of Dodoni, which is dated from the 3rd century BC and where performances of ancient Greek tragedy take place every summer.
It is the widest stone-made bridge of Epirus and probably of Greece. With its impressive 40-meters-wide arch it stands some 18 to 20 meters above the waters of Arachthos river. It also has two small auxiliary 6-meters-wide arches on its two sides.
The bridge’s construction was completed in 1866 but before that it had collapsed twice during the building works, in 1860 and 1863. It stands on the border-line of the Prefectures of Arta and Ioannina and belongs to the community of Plaka Raftanaion.
CAVE OF IOANNINA--Four kilometres north of Ioannina is the delightful village of Perama, with its famous cave. The most notable horizontal cave in the Balcans, with a passage over one kilometre long, it comprises several chambers and lambyrithine passages with spectacular stalagmites and stalactites.The greek speleologists, I. and A.Petrocheilos, found bones and teeth of the cave-bear here, the first such discovery in Greece.
KONITSA CITY==Nature - Sports - Spectacular show
Welcome to the top show of Nature and Adventure sports in Greece. Hundreds of Greek as well as foreign athletes will meet once more in Konitsa to participate in the annual 'festival' of kayak, bouldering, trekking and mountain bike. And what's more, from this year on, Evathlos will include rafting and mountaineering marathon. So, the fans of these sports will have the opportunity to compete with each other, while discovering the secret beauty of the virgin nature of Epiros.
However, if you are not ready to participate yet, you may just as well watch the race, which will be really exciting. You will watch top athletes ready to offer a unique show. Applaud them!
If you can't participate in the races, you can always try, the adrenaline bossting bungee jumping, run to the Stomiou Monastery, or even try crossing the Voidomatis river by air.
Bouldering in Ioannina
kayak in the Aoos River
Relay Race in Konitsa
Rafting in the Aoos River
Fun Race from Konitsa to Stomiou Monastery
Dodoni is the most important ancient greek oracle. It is the oldest one (founded 14th century BC even maybe 17th century BC) so it is related with the greek identity itself as people were consulting the oracle to name their gods and take important decisions concerning politics! Don't miss it!!