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Ioannina Capital of Epirus Page 4

The inner citadel or acropolis of the the fortress (open 8am-10pm, free) was used for years by the Greek military and most of its buildings, including Ali's palace, have been restored/adapted to the point that they no longer resemble 18th century structures. The Palace has become the Byzantine Museum (in summer open Mon. 12:30-7pm; Tues-Sun 8am-7pm;winter Tues-Sun 8am-5pm; 2euros admission) The collection here is very small and unremarkable, with masonry from various fallen Ipirot basilicas, coints, medieval pottery and post-Byzantine icons from the 16th and 17th centuries. The only authentic Byzantine painting is a fragment of a fresco from a damaged church.

A more interesting collection is only a few steps away in the supposed treasury of Ali's seraglio, devoted to the silver industry with both secular and ecclesiastic work from the 19th century, and a model of a silversmith's work bench. The minaret has a exceptional view of the lake and mountains, but is not always open to the public.

To the southeast is the Its-Kale with the Fetihie Tzami or Victory Mosque, a circular Tower, the Tomb of Ali Pasha, and the restored Palace , where Ali Pasha entertained Byron in 1809. The shady Leoforos Skilosophou flanks the lakeside beneath the old fortifications. In the cliff is the cave where (according to the second account of the rebel's execution) the Skylosophos was found and flayed alive. From the Skala Psaradhika (which means 'fishermans' stairway), one can reach the Aghios Athanasios Cathedral, rebuilt in 1820, with its carved woodwork; the tomb of a local patriot (1828) is there as well. To the south of the castle is a mosque, with storks in its minaret (whose top was removed). From here the Odhos Koungiou ascends to the Plateia Pirrou.

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