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It lies at an elevation of approximately 500 metres (1,640 feet) above sea level, on the western shore of lake Pamvotis ().

Ioannina is located 450 km (280 mi) northwest of Athens, 290 kilometres (180 miles) southwest of Thessaloniki and 80 km (50 miles) east of the port of Igoumenitsa in the Ionian Sea.

Ioannina became the summer capital of the Tocco domains, and Carlo I died there in July 1429.

His oldest bastard son, Ercole, called on the Ottomans for aid against the legitimate heir, Carlo II Tocco.

He settled there noble Byzantine families who fled Constantinople and other parts of the Empire that fell to the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade.

Despite frictions with local inhabitants who tried in 1232 to expel the refugees, the latter were eventually successfully settled and Ioannina gained in both population and economic and political importance.

) within Greece, is the capital and largest city of the Ioannina regional unit and of Epirus, an administrative region in north-western Greece.

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Ioannina flourished in the late Byzantine period (13th–15th centuries).It became part of the Despotate of Epirus following the Fourth Crusade.Many wealthy Byzantine families fled there following the sack of Constantinople, and the city experienced great prosperity and considerable autonomy, despite the political turmoils. Between 14 the city was the administrative center of the Pashalik of Yanina.In the aftermath of the Battle of Pelagonia in 1259, much of Epirus was occupied by the Empire of Nicaea, and Ioannina was placed under siege.Soon, however, the Epirote ruler Michael II Komnenos Doukas, aided by his younger son John I Doukas, managed to recover their capital of Arta and relieve Ioannina, evicting the Nicaeans from Epirus.

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