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Ioannina Capital of Epirus Page 7

Ioannina Town

The old bazaar, is a very pleasant area to wander around in, occupying a roughly semicircular area around the citadel's main gate. There are many old Ottoman Turkish buildings (including some impressive houses with ornate window grilles), and craft shops here, with metal smiths (silver, copper, and tin) who still play an important role in the economy of this city. Pastry makers are also here.

The main thoroughfare of Odhos Yeorghiou tou Protou connects Plateia Pirrou (Pirrou Square), which has a beautiful belvedere in front of the municipal offices, with a view of Mitsikeli , and the Kentriki Plateia (Central Square) or Plateia Dhimokratias (Democracy Square) with its clock tower further down the hill. Army headquarters dominate the latter , with the Colors ceremonially lowered every evening. Behind the square the museum and gardens are on the upper terrace of the Kastro which once gave shelter to the Christian quarter of Litharitsa, its walls demolished by Ali Pasha who used the materials to build his palace and outer ramparts. The north part of the Kastro has been restored as a café/restaurant.

The Archaeological Museum, which opened in 1970, is beside a small park just off the central square behind the clock tower and the National Bank (Ethniki Trapeza). It was closed for some time while work was being done. It has five halls, with the first considered most interesting. In it are stone tools from the Cambridge university excavations in Paleolithic caves at Asprokhaliko and Kastritsa, Neolithic and Bronze age finds; Protogeometric finds from the region of Agrinio; finds from cemeteries of Vitsa, vases and terracotta figurines of Persephone from the Nekyomanteion of Ephyra,   jewelry from Abracia, heads of Goddesses; Ipirot coins. There are also large bronze vessels from the Votonosi and voitive bronzes of an eagle, warriors, a boy with a dove, a lion; oracular tablets of lead from Dodona. Finds in the museum cover the time period from Paleolithic through classical and Roman times.  

The tablets from Dodona inscribed with questions to the oracle, as well as beautifully crafted bronze seals are highly recommended to travellers planning to visit Dodona.

Modern Ioannina owes much of its typically ugly modern parts to developers of the 1950s and 60s, with the old Turkish quarter, Frourio, the island, and the squares providing most of its character.

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