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.