Castles of Greece


Ioannina, Ioannina, Epirus

Castle of Ioannina

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Castle of Ioannina
Ioannina, Epirus
Region > Prefecture:   Greek Map
Municipality > Town:
City of Ioannina
• Ioannina
Elevation ≈ 480 m 
(Relative Height≈0 m)
Time of Construction   Origin
528 AD  
Castle Type   Condition
Walled City  
Relatively Good

The castle of Ioannina is located in the southeastern part of the city, on a rocky peninsula on lake Pamvotis. Its current form dates back to the late Ottoman period with many elements of the earlier Byzantine fortification which is based on a fortress from the Hellenistic period.

Founded by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD, Ioannina flourished following the Fourth Crusade and the Fall of 1204, when many wealthy Byzantine families fled there in the early 13th century following the sack of Constantinople. It was the capital of the Despotate of Epirus from 1358 to 1416, before surrendering to the Ottomans in 1430. Between 1430 and 1868 the city was the administrative center of the Pashalik of Yanina. The most notorious figure during this period was Ali pasha.


The castle of Ioannina was first built in 528 BC. as part of Emperor Justinian’s huge project of forrtifications in the Byzantine empire.

In 1082, the Norman Bohemond , son of the king of Sicily Robert Guiscard, added two citadels to the ruins of the Byzantine fortification and dug a fortification trench starting from the church of St. Nikolaos Kopanon. (Bohemond later became one of the leaders of the 1st crusade and much later prince "Bohemond I of Antioch").

The Byzantine independent Lords of the Despotate of Epirus added new fortifications until 1430, when the city was captured by the Turks.

The castle remained ruined, until 1788 when Ali Pasha took over as the Ottoman governor of the region. Ali rebuilt the fortification walls and built a second internal wall to protect his palace and the seat of his administration.

Structure, Fortification & Buildings

There are four sections in the castle: the exterior grounds, the NW citadel with Aslan Pasha Mosque, the SE citadel with Its Cale and Kastropoliteia, the old city of Ioannina.

The area inside its walls is about 200 acres, the perimeter is 2.000 metres and its width is 10 m.


  • Some of the pictures were sent by Mr. Georgios Krapis

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Road map to Castle of Ioannina

Approach to the monument:
Easy access from the city of Ioannina.

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