Kalamata (Greek, Modern: Καλαμάτα, Ancient/Katharevousa: -ai), older forms: Kalamai is a city in southern Greece, on the Peloponnesos, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Messinia prefecture. It is located about 60 km SE of Kyparissia and GR-9, about 120 km SSE of Pyrgos, about 80 km SW of Tripoli, about 60 km W of Sparta, NW of Areopoli and about 8 km E of Messene. In 1991 the city had 44,052 inhabitants. 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; of succulent black olives, honey eyed figs and the honey covered sesame sweet called "pastelli".
The city is located west of Sparta, and can be reached from this and other Greek cities by bus and train. Furthermore, the city has an international airport and an important harbour. Ferries are available to places such as the Greek island of Kythira.
The Gulf of Messinia where Kalamata is located has various long beaches. The Taygetus is located about 4 km E of Kalamata and GR-82 Kalamata - Sparta highway runs through the ranges.
Olives and olive oil are important products that are exported from Kalamata.
Kalamata has schools, lyceums, gymnasia, banks, a post office, and squares (plateia).
The name Kalamata
The name Kalamata may have something to do with the Greek kalo mata which means beautiful eyes. A Byzantine church near the city is devoted to the virgin of Kalomata.
Central Square of Kalamata *
Division of the municipality of Kalamata with a population 57620 in 2001
It is accessed by GR-7/E55/E65 in the west and GR-82 runs through Kalamata and into the Taygetus. The nearest superhighway is now 35 km N. From the mid-1980s until 2002, it was 85 km SW in Tripoli.
There is a road connecting within the coastline of Kalamata which is not far from the gulf and runs in the southern part of Kalamata.
It is also has a train station and a small freight yard in the harbor which makes up the southernmost train station and the southern railway terminus in all of Greece.
Since the mid-80s there is a regular weekly cruise-boat route between Kalamata - Kythira - Chania (Crete).
In the summer months, chartered flights, directly from many European cities, land in the Kalamata International Airport.
The name Kalamata
The name Kalamata may have something to do with the Greek kalo mata which means good eye. A Byzantine church near the city is devoted to the virgin of Kalomata.
History of Kalamata
Contrary to many other Greek cities, Kalamata does not date to classical times. Messini, which is located elsewhere in Messinia, is an ancient site, however. From 1681 on the Venetians ruled Kalamata. In 23rd of March, 1821, Kalamata was the first city to be liberated from the Turkish occupation of as much as over 300 years . In 1825, Ibrahim Pasha destroyed the city during the Greek war of independence (In 1838 it was decided that the official start of the revolution was 25 March 1821). After this, Kalamata was rebuilt and became one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean sea. It is not surprising that the 2nd oldest Chamber of Commerce in the Mediterranean, after that of Marseille, exists in Kalamata. After World War II, and due to political issues, Kalamata, as well as most of the Peloponnese, was excluded from the government development plans, in favour of north Greece instead. That was a major strike on the local economy, resulting in the decline of the port and hence the city. During 70s and the 80s, development and growth in Kalamata were words from worlds away, and only after the city suffered severe damage from the earthquakes of September 1986, the local authorities and individuals strained their financial resources to bring a wind of change to the forgotten capital of Messinia. Due to these efforts, Kalamata has now fully recovered and developed into a modern provincial capital, with all facilities and amenities, as well as one of the most modern hospitals in Greece.
Sights in and around Kalamata
* Greek Wikipedia