The history of Kalamata goes a long way back in the depths of the ages

It starts with Homer, who mentions Farres, an ancient city built at the place, where the Frankish castle of the city is today. Kalamata has a minor significance during the ancient period as it lies under a laconic domination from the middle of the 8th century B.C. until the middle of the 4th century B.C.

It gains glory after the fourth crusade (1204 AD), when the city passes into the hands of the Francs. Geoffrey Villehardouin builds the castle and starts the economic prosperity of the city. In 1459 the Turks occupy it and alternate in the domination with the Venetians until 1715 when they occupy it definitively, until 1821, when it was liberated.

The most significant moment of the city’s long history is its liberation from the Turks on March 23, 1821. On that day Kolokotronis, Nikitaras, Petrobeis Mavromichalis, Papaflessas and others entered the city as liberators. They participated in the solemn praise that took place in the Holy Temple of the Holy Apostles (a small Byzantine church of the 10th century that survives until today and is a symbol of the city). The Revolutionary Flag is blessed in the Holy Apostles and the Revolution of 1821 begins. From Kalamata, the Messinian Senate composes two remarkable scripts, the “Warning to the European Courts” and the “Proclamation” addressed to the Americans.

At the end of the 19th century, the port of Kalamata was built, which is still in operation, and the city has significant growth. Some call it ‘Marseilles of Moria’. The city comes into contact with the West and its culture, creating a bourgeoisie that forms an important cultural heritage. However, since 1920, a long period of economic recession has begun. In September 1986, Kalamata was hit by two powerful earthquakes that caused not only extensive damages, but also human casualties. Nevertheless, the city was quickly reconstructed and recovered from this great disaster.

Ποτοποιία Κωστέας - Παλαιά Καλαμάτα
Ποτοποιία Κωστέας - Παλαιά Καλαμάτα
Ποτοποιία Κωστέας - Παλαιά Καλαμάτα

Today, Kalamata is a modern city with a population of 54,567 inhabitants (2011 census) and is the second largest city in the Peloponnese behind Patras. The Municipality of Kalamata has a population of 69,849 inhabitants (2011 census). Kalamata is an important urban, economic and commercial center of the area, as well as the administrative center of the prefecture of Messinia.

It has a lively nightlife in winter and summer, in the historic center, the beach and in the suburb of Verga, built at the foothills of Mount ‘Kalathi’ where there are wonderful bars and restaurants with a breathtaking view of the bay and the city of Kalamata.

In Kalamata there are TEIs as well as faculties of the University of Peloponnese. The city has complete and modern sports facilities that everyone can use. Finally, it has a new, modern hospital as well as an international airport.

Important events with international interest are organized every year in the city. The international sports events, Papaflessia (athletics) and the Kalamata Cup (rhythmic gymnastics) stand out, as well as the International Dance Festival. From 2012 the “Kalamatan Carnival” is organized with great success. The city’s metropolis is celebrating on February 2 (Hypapanti), while on March 23 Kalamata celebrates its liberation from the Turks.

The new Corinth-Tripoli-Kalamata motorway, which reduced the time needed for the trip to Athens or Thessaloniki, the operation of Costa Navarino, which contributed to making Messinia a must tourist destination on the world map, the upgrade of the city’s airport with flights to all over Europe and the construction of important infrastructure projects in the city and the communities of the Municipality have resulted to the conclusion that Kalamata is undoubtedly on the path of growth and prosperity.

Kalamata is one of the most attractive modern cities. But it is also a city that can equally fascinate you with its mythology and history.