JANINA, a town of North Epirus in Greece. Pop. (1930) 21,503. The largest ethnical groups in the population are the Albanian and Greek. The position of Janina is strikingly pic turesque. At the foot of the grey limestone mass of Mount Mitzekeli (1,50oft.), which forms part of the fine range of hills running north from the Gulf of Arta, there lies a valley (the Hellopia of antiquity) partly occupied by a lake; and the city is built on the slopes of a slight eminence, stretching down to the western shore. It has greatly declined from the state of barbaric prosperity which it enjoyed from 1788 to 1822, when it was the seat of Ali Pasha (q.v.), and was estimated to have from 30,000 to 50,000 inhabitants. The fortress—Demir Kule or Iron Castle, which, like the principal seraglio, was built on a promontory jut ting into the lake—is now in ruins. But the city is the seat of a Greek archbishop, and still possesses many mosques and churches, besides synagogues, a Greek college (gymnasium), a library and a hospital. Sayades (opposite Corfu) and Arta are the places through which it receives its imports. The rich gold and silver embroidery for which the city has long been famous is still one of the notable articles in its bazaar.
The lake of Janina (perhaps to be identified with the Pambotus or Pambotis of antiquity) is 6 m. long, and has an area of 24 sq.m., with an extreme depth of less than 35 ft. In time of flood it is united with the smaller lake of Labchistas to the north. There
are no affluents of any considerable size, and the only outlets are underground passages or katavothrai extending for many miles through the calcareous rocks.
As Anna Comnena, in describing the capture of the town by Bohemond in 1082, speaks of the walls as being dilapidated, it may be supposed that the place existed before the 11th century. It is mentioned from time to time in the Byzantine annals, and on the establishment of the lordship of Epirus by Michael Angelus Comnenus Ducas, it became his capital. In the middle ages it was successively attacked by Serbs, Macedonians and Albanians; but it was in possession of the successors of Michael when the forces of the Sultan Murad appeared before it in 5430 (cf. Hahn, Alban. Studien, Jena PP. Since 1431 it re mained under Turkish rule but was occupied by the Greeks early in 1913 in the first Balkan war. Since then it has been the prin cipal town of Epirus. It uses as ports Prevoza, to the South, and Santi Quaranta in Albania. Janina is still (1928) notorious as a centre for the organization of brigandage, which is rendered more easy by the proximity of the Albanian border.
See Holland's Travels (1815) ; Hughes, Travels in Greece, etc. (1830) ; H. F. Tozer, Researches in the Highlands of Turkey (London, 5869) . See also ALBANIA and the authorities there cited.