What to see in Igoumenitsa, a tour at the gates of Greece

    What to see in Igoumenitsa, a tour at the gates of Greece
    The most interesting destinations in Igoumenitsa, considered the gateway to Greece due to its central position both for those arriving by sea and by the Balkan Highway

    Abbess It is a small town of about 20.000 inhabitants on the Ionian coast of Greece, just 30 kilometers from the border with Albania, and one of the main ports on the Adriatic route for tourist or merchant ships; In this sense it is rightly considered the gateway to northwest Greece.

    In the center of the historic region ofEpirus, the city was known in ancient times by the name of Titani; After great vitality in the classical era, it was destroyed by the Romans during the colonization of the Hellenic peninsula. Throughout history, Igoumenitsa suffered other reconstructions and destructions, the last of which, suffered during World War II, led to the loss of almost all of the oldest buildings still surviving in the historic center.

    Today Igoumenitsa is more of a transit center than a true tourist center; Although it is often ignored by mass tourism, it hides some surprising destinations both in its territory and in its surroundings. In this guide we will discover the most interesting destinations and attractions that you should not miss during a trip to Igoumenitsa, an authentic tour at the gates of Greece.

    Il Old neighborhood Igoumenitsa was completely rebuilt after the war and therefore does not have any particular historical buildings to visit; This does not mean that the city lacks interesting destinations where you can discover the history of this area rich in archaeological sites and natural beauty. In particular, you can visit the Igoumenitsa Archaeological Museum, completely reorganized in 2009, making it one of the most avant-garde in Greece, which preserves a rich collection of finds ranging from the Paleolithic to the Ottoman era, with especially relevant attention. about the Hellenistic period and the “La Casa Rena” Museum Memories, tradition and culture, an interesting center of local culture and traditions that collects more than 2000 objects from daily life and Greek popular art.

    The territory of Igoumenitsa is very rich in archaeological finds, excavations and remains from the Greek, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman past, and it is enough to walk a little beyond the urban center to find the first sites of great interest, such as the castillo de Igoumenitsa, on the hill behind the city. This ancient fortress dates back to the period of Venetian domination and, although it largely collapsed after the fierce battles between the Serenissima and the Turks in 1685, today it is possible to visit the imposing western tower and the imposing stone walls that are lost in the suggestive pine forest on the slopes of Mount Varathi.

    Another place of great interest is the archaeological site of Dolianis located on a low hill on the banks of the Kalama River, west of the modern town of Geroplatanos on the border of the municipality of Igoumenitsa. Dolianis was an ancient city of Doric origin founded in the 6th century BC. and since then it has undergone numerous reconstructions and extensions by Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans, leaving a very rich stratification of structures that are still recognizable today. Among the buildings that are still preserved you can recognize a circular Byzantine tower and the enormous profile of a mosque from the Ottoman era.

    For lovers of excursions and nature observations, a destination of great interest is the lake Kalodiki, in the extreme south of the Igoumenitsa territory, where there is a large body of water that in spring is covered with wonderful water lilies and offers shelter to a large number of water birds that nest on its banks.

    Those who love them instead beaches and rest by the sea you will find beautiful and quiet sandy coves on the southern shore of the small peninsula that forms the Gulf of Igoumenitsa, in the direction of the town of Plataria, a town in the municipal area that offers spectacular beaches bathed by a sea crystalline.

    Leaving Igoumenitsa behind and heading south, you quickly reach the town of Sibota, a small tourist center facing the island of Corfu that, thanks to the beauty of its beaches and the splendid waters that bathe them, is a very popular destination on the Ionian coast of Greece. Once you arrive in Syviota you can visit the picturesque lighthouse built in 1884 on the Mauro Oros islet, the Agia Paraskevi convent and the ancient settlement of Vrachonas. On the other hand, the main beaches in the Syvota area are Mega Ammos, Mikri Ammos and Bella Vraca.

    Moving inland, it is a destination not to be missed. Gianina, on the western shore of Lake Pamvotis, a charming city of 103.000 inhabitants called "the city of letters and arts" for the lively cultural life it has managed to develop over the years. Giannina arose from the Kastro, the Byzantine fortress of the time of Justinian and was later expanded in the part closest to the lake, with a great expansion during the Ottoman era, when a Turkish general attempted to found a caliphate in competition with Istanbul.

    Among the most interesting destinations – approximately an hour and a half by car from Igoumenitsa – we can highlight the island of Ioánnina, in the center of the Lake Pamvotis, with its spectacular Orthodox monasteries, the archaeological museum, which presents a rich collection of finds from the nearby Dodona excavations, the ethnographic museum and the imposing Fethiye mosque which houses the tomb of Ali Pasha and his wife.

    A short distance from the city center of Giannina you can visit the splendid archaeological area of anxious, the oldest oracle in all of Greece, where there is a wonderful theater perfectly preserved to the point that performances and concerts are held every year, a destination not to be missed.

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