Ioannina often called Yannena is the capital and largest city of the Ioannina regional unit and of Epirus, an administrative region in north-western Greece. Its population is 65,574, according to 2011 and the metropolitan area reached about 123,345 census. It lies at an elevation of approximately 500 metres (1,640 feet) above sea level, on the western shore of lake Pamvotis (Παμβώτις). Ioannina is located 410 km (255 mi) northwest of Athens, 260 kilometres (162 miles) southwest of Thessaloniki and 80 km (50 miles) east of the port of Igoumenitsa in the Ionian Sea.
The city’s foundation has traditionally been ascribed to the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD, but modern archaeological research has uncovered evidence of Hellenistic settlements. Ioannina flourished in the late Byzantine period (13th–15th centuries). It became part of the Despotate of Epirus following the Fourth Crusade and many wealthy Byzantine families fled there following the sack of Constantinople, with the city experiencing great prosperity and considerable autonomy, despite the political turmoils. Ioannina surrendered to the Ottomans in 1430 and until 1868 it was the administrative center of the Pashalik of Yanina. In the period between the 18th and 19th centuries, the city was a major center of the modern Greek Enlightenment.Ioannina was ceded to Greece in 1913 following the Balkan Wars. The city has two hospitals, the General Hospital of Ioannina “G. Hatzikosta”, and the University Hospital of Ioannina. It is also the seat of the University of Ioannina and of several departments of the Τechnological Educational Institute of Epirus,the headquarters of which are located in Arta. The city’s emblem consists of the portrait of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian crowned by a stylized depiction of the nearby ancient theater of Dodona.