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The silversmithing and two other museums in Ioannina

Home -> Europe -> Greece -> Travelogue Greece -> 14 & 15 July 2017

Friday 14 July, the silversmithing and two other museums in Ioannina

View from our apartment at Perama Zisis Garden Studios in PeramaThe Zisis Garden Studio apartments are located just outside the village of Perama (known from the caves) along a quiet road. Just like last time we still have to move rooms, I cannot remeber why, the last time it was because of the bad wifi reception but nowadays we have our own internet dongle with us. Anyway, this is a great place to stay because it is very quiet and we are within a few minutes in the center of Ioannina where we also go today.
Entrance to the castle of IoanninaOn a rocky part of the city that protrudes into the lake, traces of ancient settlements have been found, but nowadays you can visit the Frourion, the Ottoman citadel from the 17th century. The city was part to the Ottoman Empire from 1431 to 1931. After a revolt of Christians in the 17th century, only Muslims and Jews were allowed to live within the walls of the fort. There are several gates to the citadel and when we enter and want to take a picture, Teije suddenly remebers that he left the camera somewhere on a wall. We are lucky, it is still there.
The Fetiche mosque in the citadel of Ioannina The Fetiche mosque in the citadel of IoanninaA very recognizable point on the east side of the citadel is the Fetiche mosque that was built in the 15th century just after the city was taken by the Turks. A Byzantine church on the spot was destroyed to make place for is. But it seems that the large groups of Christians and Jews for a long time had the freedom to celebrate their own religion. In 1795 the mosque was extensively renovated by the infamous Ali Pasha who turned it into the main mosque of his palace. After being murdered on Ionannina Island as a traitor to the Ottoman Empire, he was buried in a mausoleum in front of the mosque, in the same spot where his first wife was buried.
Remains of the harem (Seraglio) of Ali Pasha Remains of the harem (Seraglio) of Ali PashaNearby are the remains of the Seraglio, the harem where the women of Ali Pasha lived in isolation. One of the thoughts behind polygamy is that there was often a surplus of women because of wars, and that a man who could afford it, took care of women who could not provide for their own livelihood. It would not be my solution and I hope that Ali Pasha treated his wives better than his enemies, because he had a lot of fun torturing them. A French officer said around 1800 that he was 100 times worse than Nero in inventing methods of torture.
The Silversmithing Museum in IoanninaJust past the mosque is the new silver museum, built against the southeast walls of the citadel. The building itself looks quite new but fits very nicely into the whole of the citadel. In Turkish times, the silversmiths of Ioannina were famous for the artful objects they made. The museum was founded by the PIOP, a cultural foundation of the Piraeus bank, which wants to start theme museums throughout Greece that are relevant to the region in which they stand. As far as we are concerned they have made something very beautiful of this one. At the moment they have 9 museums and according to the reviews, the others are also very worthwhile.
Jewelery box in the silver museum in Ioannina Spoons in the silver museum in IoanninaThe museum is not very large but well organized with clear information. On the ground floor, the entire process of silversmithing is made clear with the exhibition of tools and movies and also the development of the profession during the last 7 centuries. Ioannina had a number of professional guilds and the silversmiths formed an important one of them. On the top floor you can see a collection of silver and gold objects that were made here in the past, all by hand. There are glass showcases in which the objects are hung on thin wires so that you can view them from all sides, quite impressive.
Exhibition in the silver museum in Ioannina Gilded cross in the silver museum in IoanninaThe admission price of the museum is only 3 euros per person. Very often I find museums rather chaotic, there are too many things displayed and there are too many signs with information so that at the end you have forgotten what you have read in the beginning. But here it all has been arranged so clearly that I can say that I really learned here some things. Not that I can now retell the way the silversmithing process went exactly a few centuries ago, but I did get a bit more respect for the craftsmen who were silversmiths. It was not easy work and they made beautiful objects.
There is also a hall that is used for temporary exhibitions and for children there are interactive games.
Byzantine museum in Ioannina In the citadel of IoanninaNear the silversmithing museum is the Byzantine museum and here the information is brought a lot more chaotic. Sometimes there are only Greek inscriptions and you have to guess what you are looking at. There is a collection of images, icons and books from the early Christian and Byzantine times. After this visit we walk through the alleys of the citadel to the outside, into the modern center of Ioannina where it is a lot busier. Ioannina is a university city and the terraces are crowded by students. We are now also ready for some refreshments.
Then we drive out of Ioannina for a few kilometers, searching for the Vrellis museum that the owners of our apartment have recommended. Vrellis was an artist who bought a piece of land here in 1983 and worked for 13 years to build a museum. He has designed everything himself, inside and out. There is a guided tour every hour and we have to wait a while before we can enter. Again no one speaks English, but Teije seems to understand what they are telling us. When we finally get in, we are surprised by what we see, we had no idea what to expect. There are 36 tableaux of persons and events from Greek history, all made of wax.
They are impressive scenes and occasionally we get some information in Greek but that is told too fast for Teije to follow. But what a pity that we absolutely are forbidden to take pictures, therefore we can not show anything here. The entrance fee is 6 euros but we can certainly recommend this museum!
In the evening we eat at a restaurant near our apartment and for a reasonable price we get more than we can eat. Another place that we can recommend. It is called Gevome ... Magevome, meaning 'I taste ... I am enchanted' (or fascinated).

Saturday 15 July 2017, back to Chalkidiki

Mountain landscape around the Pamvotis lake at IoanninaSaturday morning we pay for our apartment and drink a cup of offee in Ioannina along Pamvotis lake. Only when we are a long way towards Thessaloniki, I suddenly realize that I have left my sun hat on the table near the water. Too bad. Tonight we will sleep in Paralia Dionysiou, where we also started our journey in Greece. There is bad weather coming so we first drive directly to the beach at Kalyves to sunbathe for a few hours before we go to Michael and Kiki in Dionysios Palms where we have reserved a room and where we are ehousiastically welcomed.


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