Ioannina ( or Yiannena ) is situated 459 km from Athens ( via Rion-Antirrion ) and some 100 km from Igoumenitsa on the shore of the legendary Lake Parrivotis. It is an important commercial and cultural center.
Ioannina was founded by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century A.D. It rose slowly in statue and by the 13th century, it was a flourishing commercial town. Under Turkish occupation in the 18th century, it served as a stronghold and seat of Ali Pasha of Tepelini. To this day Ioannina retains a marked medieval character with its old houses and shops lining narrow streets. It is essentially a historical town, holding on to its traditions which the visitor enjoys together with its modern attractions.
The most interesting feature of Ioannina is the lake which almost surrounds it. Six tiny Byzantine monasteries dot the islands In the lake, and of these the most noteworthy is the 11th century Aghios Nikolaos Dilios with boldly conceived frescoes of “Judas Returning the 30 Pieces of Silver” and the “Last Judgement”.
Before leaving Ioannina it is worth traveling to the foothills of Mount Tomaros, 22 km southwest of Ioannina, to visit the site of Ancient Dodoni. Remains in the area are those of the ancient oracle, the acropolis, and a few ruins.
The theater dates from the 3rd century B.C. and is used in the summer for performances of ancient Greek Drama during the Dodoni Festival.