The citadel of Ioannina (Kastro) is an irregular trapezoid-shaped fortress built on a rocky headland on the western shore of Lake Pamvotida. The present form of the citadel is the result of extensive construction by Ali Pasha in the late 18th and early 19th century, in many places incorporating the existing Byzantine fortifications. At the beginning of the 19th century a new fortified wall was constructed outside the Byzantine fortification, primarily on the western side, and the gap between the old and new walls was bridges with transverse barrel-vaults, forming a sequence of vaulted structures. The central gate was located along this wall. There were bastions along the walls and a walkway on top. A moat ringed the fortress, filled with water from the lake (the moat's course is now followed by Karamanli and Ethnikis Antistaseos streets).
Within the citadel, two pre-existing citadels were also fortified: the northeastern citadel, today known as the Aslan Pasha citadel, and the southeastern citadel, known as the Iç Kale. The Iç Kale is larger than the Aslan Pasha complex and takes the form of an independent fortress. At present it is an organized archaeological site and many buildings have been restored and repurposed, such as a cafe housed in the former kitchen complex of Ali Pasha's saray, and a venue to educational programs in the former gunpowder magazine. Remains of the saray of Ali Pasha, destroyed by fire in 1870, have been converted into storerooms for the Ministry of Culture.
Restoration works on the citadel have been taking place since the 1970s. Between 2006-2008, repairs were made to the perimeter walls and the walkways were restored and made accessible to the public. Excavations at this time also revealed a large part of the Byzantine fortifications.
Brouskarē, Ersē, and Elizabeth Key Fowden. Ottoman architecture in Greece, 168-169. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Directorate of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Antiquities, 2009.
Mikropoulos, Tassos A., ed. Elevating and Safeguarding Culture Using Tools of the Information Society: Dusty traces of the Muslim culture, 382-383. Ioannina: The Educational Approaches to Virtual Reality Laboratory, University of Ioannina, 2008.
Ioannina Castle (Variant)
Ottoman fortifications built, incorporating existing Byzantine fortifications, late 18th-early 19th century