With a population of 95, 855, Kalamata is at a distance of about 148 miles from Athens, 50 miles from Tripoli and 37 miles from Sparta. The islands of Kythina and Crete are accessible by boat from Kalamata and train services connect the city with Kyparissia, Pyrgos, and Patra. Messini, the nearby ancient city is also well connected by train services.
Compared to other Greek cities, Kalamata is a new city. Kalamata grew in the vicinity of Messene, an ancient Greek site. In the thirteenth century, Kalamata developed as a settlement occupied by the Frankish troops. Starting the fifteenth century Kalamata became the seat of a territorial struggle between the Turkish and Venetian troops. Initially Kalamata was ruled over by the Ottomans. By late seventeenth century the Venetians ruled the city as part of their territory. Subsequently the city became part of the Ottoman Empire once again and remained in their dominion till 1821 when the Greek troops liberated the city and assimilated it into their territory. But this was not the end of the city's woes. In 1825 the city faced complete destruction in the hands of the troops headed by Ibrahim Pasha of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty. When the city was rebuilt, the port of Kalamata became one of the most important trade and commerce hubs in Greece. After the two world wars the city fell into a state of administrative neglect due to political issues in Greece. It is after the devastating earthquake in 1986 that Kalamata was reconstructed and developed with modern amenities. The city is now an important tourist attraction in Greece.
Travel and Tourism
Kalamata is a beautiful port with many churches and heritage architectural sites. The city is a popular tourist destination and a number of dainty cafes, restaurants, and shops. A number of sandy beaches and the stretching waterfront are prime attractions. The Castle of Kalamata was built in 1208 by the Frankish sovereigns. The castle is the highest point of Kalamata overlooking the sea. The Church of the Apostles, built in 1371 is an important site in the history of Greece. It is believed that the Greek War of Independence was declared at this church. Kalamata was also the first Greek city to be liberated from Turkish rule. The Benakei Archeological Museum is a favorite tourist destination in Kalamata. The museum building itself is reminiscent of the Venetian era but was rebuilt after the 1986 earthquake. The display at the museum includes historic pieces from the Bronze Age, the Roman Era, and the Byzantine Period.
What is Kalamata Famous For?
Olives: Kalamata olives and olive oil are among the best in the world and make the best exports good of the region.
International Kalamata Dance Festival: The International Kalamata Dance Festival has been a premier event in the Mediterranean. The festival is attended by dance students, professionals, critics, and dance historians the world over.
The Festival of the Ypapandi: The Church of Ypapandi in Kalamata was set up in 1860. The festival of Ypapandi is held every year from end January to mid February. Kalamata is one of the agriculture and trade hubs of Greece. A much preferred tourist destination, Kalamata attracts tourists starting April through November. Kalamata is a beautiful, sunny city with long sandy beaches and calm serene surroundings.