This well known lake, which is located in Epirus in northwestern Greece, was in ancient times known as “Pamvotis”, meaning "the great provider". Situated right next to the city of Ioannina, this uncommonly beautiful lake is a true gem of the Ioannina Basin region. With a fascinating history full of legends and traditions that go back centuries, the lake of Kyra Frosyni has become famous beyond the borders of Greece.
Kyra Frosyni was a legendary figure in Epirus prior to Greek independence.
Kyra Frosyni was the wife of Ioannina merchant Dimitrios Vasiliou, renowned in the area for her beauty and intelligence. As her husband was away for extended periods of time to Venice, on business, she met and had an affair with Muhtar Pasha who was the eldest son of the region's ruler, Ali Pasha.
The wife of Muhtar Pasha found out about the affair while her husband was away in Adrianople, went to Ali Pasha and demanded that he take action. Ali Pasha proceeded to arrest Kyra Frosyni in person and locked her up in prison along with 16 other women, also adulteresses. The arrest caused an uproar amongst Ioannina's Greek community and Ali Pasha hesitated to take action. Finally, two days later, on January 11, 1801, he ordered the 17 women to be drowned in Lake Pamvotis. The execution took place but the local Greeks came to view the women - especially Kyra Frosyni - as martyrs of their faith and nation.
Kyra Frosyni was buried with honours and her two children were taken in by the Bishop of Ioannina who was her uncle.
Many songs and poems have been written on the subject with the view that she was a Christian woman who had fallen but repented and was unjustly executed.
The story of Kyra Frosyni is so popular even today that many taverns, cafes and boats on the lake are named after her.
REPENTANCE (Second song)
A poem by Aristotelis Valaoritis (1824-1879)
Sweet dawn secretly comes forward from Pindos
Sprinkling with dew its each step.
The lake sleeps undisturbed, and at the end of the seashore
One hears the foam playing sweetly,
Like the quiet sigh of a small child that sleeps.
Some time ago the breeze traversed, crazy and joyful
With its innocent wings sliding on the lake
Playing and cooling itself and it steals her kiss,
And she, who is shy, cringes her forehead
And sulks for a moment and the breeze leaves.
Who in autumn saw a beautiful little dawn
The cold and bitter farewell of youth that grows old
And of life that is fading, and who did not remember
His late hour, the struggle of his soul!
© Anna Wacker Photography