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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).
The attempt of Nikephoros to restore the Epirote state was short-lived as he was killed in the Battle of Achelous against Albanian tribes.
The identification of the site with one of the ancient cities of Epirus has not yet been possible. Tsoures dated the Byzantine city walls and the northeastern citadel of the Ioannina Castle to the 10th century, with additions in the late 11th century, including the south-eastern citadel, traditionally ascribed to the short-lived occupation of the city by the Normans under the leadership of Bohemond of Taranto in 1082.
In the treaty of partition of the Byzantine lands after the Fourth Crusade, Ioannina was promised to the Venetians, but in the event, it became part of the new state of Epirus, founded by Michael I Komnenos Doukas.
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.