Voskopoja and Ioannina, two advanced centers of the European Enlightenment in the Ottoman West

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Panajot Barka


This paper considers the impact of Enlightenment ideals before and during the Movement of the New Greek National Ideology during the 17th to 19th centuries. It is about Ioannina and Voskopoja, located today respectively in northwestern Greece and in southeastern Albania. In both centers, education was central to the spread of Western Enlightenment values, and attempts to communicate across the languages of the region were the main key. Voskopoja is a typical case of the flourishing of Enlightenment values in the service of economic and cultural development. With its defining basis of Hellenic culture, and its emphasis on secular knowledge, the purpose of education was ‘enlightening’ the hearts and minds of the Balkan peoples, seen as the only way to overthrow the Ottoman Empire. The ideological platform promoted in Ioannina, and on behalf of Greek nationalism, served as the basis for the platform of the Albanian national ideology.

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