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Ioannina Capital of Epirus Page 3

Sights of Ioannina

The most fascinating part of the town is the Frourio (fortress) area by the lakeside. Odhos Averof goes directly there from the center, with silversmiths along the way. The fortress was restored in 1815 by the Ali Pasha; at that time, the walls dropped sharply to the lake, with the Khandaki, (moat) on their landward side, which was crossed by three wooden bridges. The moat was later filled in, and there is a pleasant walkway along the lakeside, with nice shade trees.

the aslan mosquTowards the northwest is the Turkish Library, restored in 1973. In the northwest corner, enclosed by a wall is the Mosque of Aslan Pasha (left), with a very nice dome. This mosque was used up until 1928, but now houses the Municipal Popular Art Museum (open 8am-8:30pm in summer; 9am-3pm in winter; 2 euros admission).

Cannons and piles of cannon balls can be viewed on the way up to it. Among the most impresseive exhibits are the Ipirot costumes and adornments of the 18th to 19th centuries. There are also guns and jewelry. A section is devoted to synagogue rugs and tapestries donated by the tiny Jewish community of 35 (this figure from ten years ago, which could be even smaller now). The synagogue is at Ioustinianou 16, and can be visited on application to the community office at Iosif Eliyia 18 (unmarked ground floor storefront, with only Greek or Hebrew spoken).

Ioannina had a sizeable Jewish community dating from Roman times. The Nazis killed some 85-92% of Greece's Jewish citizens, which numbered 80,000 before WWII. The Muslim wing of the museum displays a mother of pearl suite with the pipe of the last Ottoman governor here, Esat Pasha. The mosque is illuminated at night, and offers a rare glimpse of the interior of a Greek mosque. The decorations on its dome and the niches for visitors shoes in the vestibule remain. The mosque adjacent quarters are the alleged scene of Ali Pasha's unwanted advances (some say 'attempted rape') of the reluctant mistress of his son, who was drowned in the lake with her sixteen companions.

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