Ioannina is one of the largest regional units of Greece, capital of the Epirus region. It lies at an elevation of approximately 500 metres (1,640 feet) above sea level, on the western shore of lake Pamvotis. Ioannina is located 450 km (280 mi) northwest of Athens, 290 kilometres (180 miles) southwest of Thessaloniki and 80 km (50 miles) east of the port of Igoumenitsa in the Ionian Sea.
Ioannina borders Albania in the north, and the regional units of Kastoria in the northeast, Grevena and Trikala in the east, Arta in the southeast, Preveza in the south and Thesprotia in the southwest and west.
It is a mountainous region, dominated by the Pindus mountains, that cover the eastern part of the regional unit. The main subranges of the Pindus are from north to south: Gramos, Smolikas (2,637 m, the highest of the Pindus), Tymfi, Lygkos, Lakmos and Athamanika. The lower Xerovounio mountains are situated in the south, and the Tomaros in the southwest.
Lake Ioannina is the largest lake of Epirus. Several major rivers have their source in the Ioannina regional unit, including Aoös, Arachthos and Acheron.
The town is first mentioned in the 9th C as episcopacy yet again others believe that it was founded by Emperor Justinian. In the 13th C it was an important town of Epirus domain and had flourished economically, that situation prevailed over the next centuries. In 1430 the town was surrendered to the Turks under an agreement. By the end of 19th century, beginning of 20th, the town became the capital centre of Ali Pasha domain, his period of legacy coincides with the biggest economic and cultural flourishing of the area. Treasures of the town's history which appeal to the visitors are its monuments: The Castle, the island's Monasteries with wonderful wall paintings, the Turkish church, old wealthy houses, the Jewish Synagogue.
Some of the most notable attractions are the following:
In 1970, the independent University of Ioannina was founded and started to grow rapidly in order to become today one of the most important Universities of Greece. Today, the University of Ioannina includes 17 academic Departments which altogether number 13,523 undergraduate students. A number of organised postgraduate study programmes are on offer that combine taught and research elements both at Master's and Doctoral level. Approximately 1,300 students are involved in full-time study mode progressing to a Master's degree, while 2,217 students are currently pursuing their studies at Doctoral level. The postgraduate student population is increasing yearly. It is ranked one of the best Universities in the country and its contribution to the production of new knowledge, especially in the field of medical research is considerable.
The University Campus is located 6 km from the centre of Ioannina and is one of the largest University campuses in Greece. It can be easily reached from the city either by public transportation or by car.It covers a total area of almost 850 acres (3.4 km2) with many green open spaces which surround the four main building complexes.
Ioannina is a city, where one can find innumerable restaurants, taverns and raki places with traditional Greek dishes but also recipes from the international cuisine. There are a lot of choices that satisfy all tastes. Original flavours, such as frog legs, eels, trout and all kinds of fish wait the fish lovers. Local exquisite meat cooked traditionally in earthen vessel waits those who show preference in meat. But even those who love pasta will be satisfied by the local specialties from traditionally homemade local noodles. So, the dishes that wait for you to enjoy are rich and very tasteful, but the raki or the wines with which you can accompany your food are exceptional as well.
Those who prefer the fast and easy food will find many fast-food places and pizzerias in each corner of the city.
Ioannina has a Mediterranean climate tempered by its inland location and elevation. The snowfalls that used to be a common phenomenon have been rare in the latest years. The medium annual temperature varies between 17-18 degrees. Summers are typically hot and dry, while winters are wet and colder than on the coast and morning fogs are quite usual.