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Prefecture: Messenia/Messinia (capital)
Province: Kalamata (capital)

37.03/37°1'53' N
253.209 km²
Population: (2001)
 - Total
 - Density¹
 - Rank



Messenian Gulf
21 m(centre)
around 2,400 m
Number of communities: 14
Postal code: 241 00
Area/distance code: 11-30-27210 (030-27210)-2 through 4
Municipal code: 3816
Car designation: KM
3-letter abbreviation: KAB
Name of inhabitants: Kalamatan sing., -s pl.
Address of administration: 28 Aristodimou St.
Kalamata 241 00

This historic city, in its modern form, continues to play a key role in Greece. From this port, the largest in the Messinia Prefecture, the famous olive oil and the well-known Kalamata olives and figs are traded.

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.

Geography - Demography

History of Kalamata

Finds from recent excavations imply that Kalamata is on the site of the ancient Pharai (one of seven cities that Agamemnon offered to Achilles).

Kalamata first emerged as a city of political significance during Frankish rule.

In 1459 it came under Ottoman rule. From 1685 to 1715 it was under the Venetians. It then returned to Ottoman rule until its liberation.

The liberation of the Greek nation from Turkish rule in 1821 began in the historic Apostles chapel, located in 23rd March Square. The chapel dates back to 1317.

On March 23, 1821, Kalamata became the first city to be liberated from the Turkish rule during the Greek War of Independence. It was in Kalamata that the first government met, the first national printing house was established, and the first newspaper of the new state was printed.

Later during the war, in 1825, Ibrahim Pasha recaptured and destroyed the city. 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. That was a major blow on the local economy, resulting in the decline of the port and hence the city. During the 1970s and 1980s, development and growth in Kalamata were slow and only after the city suffered severe damage from the earthquakes of September 1986, did 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.


  • The Castle, built in 1210, is one of the city’s landmarks and has a wonderful amphitheatre often used for performances.
  • The impressive cathedral of Kalamata is dedicated to the Hypapanti tou Sotiros. The icon of the Hypapanti.
  • The Library, founded in 1933, contains 60,000 volumes, manuscripts, papyri, illuminated gospels, and other rare books.
  • The Municipal Art Gallery has an exhibition of works by Greek painters.

Other information

  • In 2003, Kalamata hosted the International Kalamata Documentary Film Festival for the fifth year running,
  • For the past few years, the International Dance Festival has been held here, in the summer, with performances by famous dance groups from all over the world.

Sports teams