Vrellis Wax Museum
A "must-see" on any visitorís agenda
The new Pavlos Vrellis Wax Museum, recently completed, is located in the village of Bizani,
11Km south of the city of Ioannina, just off the Ioannina - Athens National Highway.
The museum is built in traditional 18th century "Epirus-style" architecture and towers over a flat area which collects water in the fall and winter months.
On display in the museum are wax exhibits covering themes from various periods of Greek history (Pre-Revolution period, 1821 Revolution leading to Independence, 1940-41) and other themes including "Byzantium", "Ancient Greece" and "Asia Minor". In total, the museum houses 36 separate collections with 150 life-size wax sculptures, all the creations of this world-renowned artist.
An underground Adventure...
Located just 4 km north of Ioannina, in the Perama settlement, the Perama Cave is at least 2 million years old!
Greeceís largest cave in terms of area (14,800 square metres) and the 7th largest in terms of total length of its passages (1,700 metres), the Perama Cave is well-known world-wide for its beauty and scientific value and the subject of a number of publications in international journals.
The cave was first discovered by geologist Ioannis Petrohilos and his wife Anna in 1951 and explored by the couple through 1955.
There are at least 14 different types of stalagmites and stalactites in curious shapes and sizes which can be admired by visitors on a guided tour along a 1 Km-long illuminated pathway.
The Island of Ioannina
The island of Ioannina, located in Lake Pamvotis, is still today, a traditional settlement of 150 families of fishermen. It was founded by refugees from the area of Mani, at about the same time as the city of Ioannina (527 AD). Prosperous aristocrats from Constantinople settled on the island in 1204 when the Despotate of Epirus was first established.
The Island has always been a centre of monastic life. Monasteries, decorated with remarkable frescoes, were built during the 13th century. The monastic community of the Island continued to prosper, even during the period of Turkish Rule, well-known among the rulers as "kifir andasi", meaning "Island of the Unbelievers".
The Islandís prosperity was severely damaged by Ali Pasha, who imposed heavy taxes on its inhabitants. Ali Pasha would later seek refuge on the Island, along with a guard of 1,000 Albanians, while under siege by the Soultanís forces (1820-22). During the 2-year siege, the Island was looted and the monasteries burned or destroyed. Most of the islanders were expelled and returned after Ali Pasha was assassinated in the cells of Panteleimonos Monastery on January 24, 1822.
The Island can be reached by boats leaving every 20 minutes from Ioannina lakefront (Molos). The journey takes about 10 minutes. The Island is full of small, family-owned restaurants, serving eel, trout and other local specialties.