Ioannina is a modern city about 455 km northwest of Athens. The current Jewish population is about 60 people and there is a functioning synagogue and a cemetery.

 

The Synagogue

 

The old synagogue of Ioannina is located just inside the Kastro on the flank of what was the old Jewish quarter. According to the inscription over the entrance, it was built in 1829 and apparently occupies the site of an older synagogue, which probably dated back to the 17th century. The wall and the gate were built in the 19th century.

 

The new synagogue, which was dedicated in 1841, has unfortunately been razed.

There are remains of two minyans  (oratories) that were connected to the two synagogues for the use of members of the community who came early to pray. The foundations of the minyan connected to the Old synagogue can still be seen to the northeast of the building.

 

Other sites

 

The cemetery is on the western edge of the town on Mega Alexandros St, in an area named Agia Triada (near the tourist pavilion and outdoor theatre). It is surrounded by a wall, but has been neglected over the years, thus offering little interest. But some of the stones are peculiar in that they bear no inscriptions, and are simply roughly quarried slabs of local limestone. They are most likely to be the oldest, dating back to the 13th century according to some local community members.

 

A walk on Eliya Street, named after the celebrated Jewish Greek poet, provides an access to the old Jewish quarter of the city, which is located outside the Walled City.

 

In the National Gardens, you can see a marble bust of the pre-mentioned poet Joseph Eliya, located in the Poet’s park.

 

The Municipal Museum has some Jewish artifacts, including textiles, Parochet, Bima covers and two of the oldest Ketubot surviving in the world.

Location: Plateia 25 Martiou (behind clock tower and the Greek army base on central square)

 

A Holocaust memorial is located just outside the citadel, on the corner of Karamanlis St. and Soutsou St.

 

For more about the History of the Jews of Ioannina, click here

 

Based on Jewish Sites and Synagogues of Greece -

Nicholas P. Stavroulakis and Timothy J. DeVinney - Talos press