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Culture Traditional forms of Art - Professions Silver work Epirus Ioannina

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made of stone
Silver work
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Historical framework


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The area of Ioannina is an area full of historical events, figures and situations, directly connected with the destinies of Hellenism.
The founding of Ioannina derives from the Byzantine period and was built in an opportune geographical location, next to the homonymous lake, in a small peninsula comprised of two rocky points, where the castle stands today. From the first moment of the founding, the city became the administrative and military center of the area, without however, immediately taking on the special significance that it received with the passing of time.
One of the first significant moments is the occupation of the city by the Norman Voimoundos during the reign of Alexis Komninos, in the Byzantine-Norman wars. Next the city was re-captured by the Byzantines and continues its course until 1204, the year of the first Fall of Constantinople to the Franks.
It is the period that gives Ipirus the opportunity to become a protector and carrier of the Hellenic identity, as a young general, Michael Doukas, creates a state there, which at the apex of his power seeks, even though finally fails, to recapture the City and reestablish the Empire. It is the era of a new dynamic, which is also owed to the aristocratic families that seek refuge there, and most of which reside in Ioannina. Names, such as the Philathropini, Stratigopouli, Apsarades and others will dominate in the political, financial, intellectual and artistic life of the area and of the city in the following centuries.
This state, known in bibliography also as the “Dominion of Ipirus”, extended to the entire Ipirus at the time and had Arta and Ioannina as its administrative center.
Through historical events that lead to the direct contact (political, financial and cultural) with the West, it was governed by the Byzantines, as well as by Hellenized Serbians and Westerners, in the name, usually, of the Byzantine Emperor.
The end of this autonomous course came in 1430, with the delivery of Ioannina to the Turks (October 9). It was a decision of the locals to not resist the almighty military invader, which marked the later course of the city, as its residents acquired many concessions, which guaranteed them very good living conditions, freedom of movement and growth. The almost end of this course came in 1611, with the revolution of Dionysus the “Skylosophos”, when the city was plundered and burned by the Turks and Christians within the castle were driven out. This tragedy did indeed impact the city of Ioannina but also the surrounding area but only for a short time.
The second half of the 17th century and the entire 18th century is characterized by a growth with fluctuations. In addition, especially the city of Ioannina but also the towns such as Metsovo, comes into contact with the West through commercial relations and the immigrant merchants.
At the end of the 18th century (1788) the administration of the Territory of the Pasha (“Pasaliki”) of Ioannina is assumed by an exceptionally ambitious and capable personality, Ali Tepelenlis, known in history as Ali Pasha. Once he organized the Pasaliki and created the preconditions of a legitimate state – legitimate in terms of the era and certainly not for himself – an unfamiliar growth in those times was observed. Ioannina becomes not only the administrative, economic and intellectual center of a greater area but also one of the most significant of the Balkans, resulting in the city even having Consulates of the Great Powers of the time. The population of the city reaches 30,000 residents of which 80% are Greeks. The financial recovery and growth, but also the intellectual flourishing of Ioannina and the greater area reaches its peak in the period of Ali Pasha. At the same time other centers are developed, of a smaller scope but of great importance, such as Metsovo, Kallarytes, Syrrako and the Zagoria.
However, his revolution against the Porte and the war that followed (1820 – 1822) lead to the turn of a course of many centuries.
Nevertheless, the internal strengths of the Ioanninan society showed the endurances and abilities which helped them survive after the bloody suppression of the defection of Ali Pasha.
Life already in 1830 has begun to stabilize and reorganize. Ioannina again becomes the center of a greater area but no longer with the glory of the previous years. In 1864 the Pasaliki ceases to exist and is replaced by the Ioannina Vilaeti. The economic recovery, the system of guilds, the commercial relations with foreign countries and the founding of Schools create a dynamics of growth in local society.
With the liberation of Ioannina in 1913, the course of many centuries of Ioannina and its greater area is completed.
Since 1913 and until today Ioannina is the economic centre of the homonymous Prefecture. The vigorous financial state, in combination with the intellectual flourishing and the existence of the University create a financial and intellectual centre, which continues the tradition of centuries.