|Capital and chief port of the prefecture of
Messinia, built in the heart of the Messinian Gulf.
Near the ancient city of Farai
mentioned by Homer, 238 km from Athens, the land of Kalamatianos
dance and the silk kerchief.
The 13th century castle above it built by Geoffrey Villehardouin
dominates the town. On the north side of the citadel there is a
small Byzantine church dedicated to the Virgin of Kalomata (of
good eye), from which the town may have acquired its name.
From the castle you can survey the expanse of sea below with its
sandy and pebbly shores or turn your gaze upon the deep green
plain, the "happy land" of the ancients.
The old city is spread out underneath the castle. This is where
the Byzantine church of the Virgin Ypapanti and the convent of the
Kalograies built in 18th century, where the nuns weave the famous
Kalamata silk, are situated.
In 1209 it was proclaimed seat of a barony and held by the Franks
up to 1381, when it had been taken over by Navarrese and later
liberated by the Paleologues. Turkish rule followed, except for an
interval between 1685 and 1715, when it belonged to the Venetians.
There are many churches in town, the oldest being the historic
church of Agii Apostoli (13th c.) where the Greek War of
Independence against the Turks was formally declared on March 23,
Kalamata has an archaeological museum, which is housed at the
Benaki Mansion, and a folklore museum noteworthy for its numerous
relics of the War of Independence of 1821, a fine arts museum
filled with works by Greek artists and a library containing 60.000
Every summer cultural events like concerts and plays put on by the
Kalamata theatre are held in the amphitheatre of the castle. In
the evening, the town comes alive, especially along the water
front which is lined with taverns, sea food restaurants and
rotisseries serving local dishes and drinks, fresh fish, roast
suckling pig and chicken, sausages, cheese, olives, retsina and