Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comGreeceHistoric City of Ioannina, Greece Marks Anniversary of Liberation

Historic City of Ioannina, Greece Marks Anniversary of Liberation

Ioannina Greece liberation
People thronged the city squares of Ioannina to welcome the Greek Army in 1913. Public Domain

Τhe historic city of Ioannina, the capital of Epirus in north-western Greece marks February 21 as the day of liberation from the Ottoman Empire.

The city, which endured centuries of Ottoman rule until 1913, celebrates the union with Greece every year with a parade accompanied with plenty of traditional food, music, and dancing.

liberation Ionnnina
The Surrender of Ioannina by Esad Pasha to Greek Crown Prince Constantine during the First Balkan War. Greek lithograph. Source: Gennadios Library

Liberation of Ioannina followed Greece’s military victory at Bizani

Its liberation followed the battle of Bizani, where a fortress guarded the approaches to Ioannina. This decisive Balkan War battle was fought between the Greek Army and the last Ottoman army ever to enter Macedonia or Epirus.

Ioannina liberation
“Crown Prince Constantine watching the heavy guns shelling Bizani”. Credit: Georges Scott

The Army of Epirus had been rendered mainly defensive at the outbreak of the First Balkan war, since the majority of the Greek military units were sent to reinforce the Macedonian Front.

Following the annexation of Thessaloniki, the Ottoman Empire sought a truce with the Balkan Allies. The Greek government conceded to participate in peace deliberations but clarified that since Epirus had not yet been liberated, Greece would still be at war with the Ottoman Empire until the final peace treaty.

On October 19th, 1912, the Army of Epirus, under the leadership of Major Sapountzakis, abandoned its defensive role and attacked the Turkish Army. Although the Greek forces were outnumbered, Preveza was conquered and an Ottoman attack at Pente Pigadia was repulsed.

Still, there remained enormous difficulties still to overcome in the campaign to liberate Ioannina.

Ioannina Greece liberation
Crown Prince Constantine and Greek Army officers on the road to liberate Ioannina. Public Domain

The Ottoman Army’s numerical superiority and the fact that it had moved to the forts of Bizani, which historians describe as “strongly fortified,” combined with the extreme cold and the lack of supplies, prevented the Greek Army from initiating an offensive.

Victories in Macedonia allowed the main bulk of the Army of Thessaly to move south and reinforce the Army of Epirus. Crown Prince Constantine then assumed the command of the Army and demanded a peaceful surrender of the city. Essat Pasha did not accept the Crown Prince’s offer and prepared for attack.

With careful strategic maneuvering — and astounding heroism — the Greek Army conquered Bizani and forced Essat Pasha to surrender the city of Ioannina on February 21, 1913.

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts