Kalamáta (Greek: Καλαμάτα [kalaˈmata]) is the second most populous city of the Peloponnese peninsula, after Patras, in southern Greece and the largest city of the homonymous administrative region. As the capital and chief port of the Messenia regional unit, it lies along the Nedon River at the head of the Messenian Gulf.
Promenade of Kalamata
|• Mayor||Athanasios Vasilopoulos (New Democracy; since 1 September 2019)|
|• Municipality||440.3 km2 (170.0 sq mi)|
|• Municipal unit||253.3 km2 (97.8 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||21 m (69 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|• Municipality density||160/km2 (410/sq mi)|
|• Municipal unit||62,409|
|• Municipal unit density||250/km2 (640/sq mi)|
|• Population||54,567 (2011)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
The 2011 census recorded 69,849 inhabitants for the wider Kalamata Municipality, of which, 62,409 resided in the municipal unit of Kalamata, and 54,567 in the city proper. Kalamata is renowned as the land of the Kalamatianos dance and Kalamata olives.
The modern name Kalamáta is a corruption of the older name Καλάμαι, Kalámai, "reeds". The phonetic similarity of Kalamáta with the phrase καλά μάτια "kalá mátia" ("good eyes") has led to various folk etymologies.
The municipal unit of Kalamata is subdivided into the following communities (population according to the 2011 census, settlements within the community listed):
Municipal communities (Δημοτική κοινότητα; population over 2,000):
- Kalamata (population: 54,567; Agioi Pantes, Agios Fanourios, Bournias, Filothei, Giannitsanika, Kalamata, Kallithea-Kourti Rachi, Kokkinorachi, Koutala, Menina, Moni Velanidias, Moni Profiti Ioil, Profitis Ilias)
- Verga (population: 2,252; Agriomata, Ano Verga, Kato Verga, Mousga, Pano Galari-Kampinari, Paralia Vergas)
Local communities (Τοπική κοινότητα; population under 2,000):
- Alagonia (population: 176; Alagonia, Machalas)
- Antikalamos (population: 361; Antikalamos, Goulismata)
- Artemisia (population: 142; Agios Ioannis Theologos, Artemisia, Theotokos)
- Asprochoma (population: 1,490; Akovitika, Asprochoma, Kagkareika, Kalami, Katsikovo, Lagkada-Dimitrakopouleika)
- Elaiochori (population: 270; Arachova, Dendra, Diasella, Elaiochori, Moni Dimiovis, Perivolakia)
- Karveli (population: 63; Agia Triada, Emialoi, Karveli, Kato Karveli)
- Ladas (population: 85; Agia Marina, Agios Vasileios, Ladas, Silimpoves-Agios Vasilis)
- Laiika (population: 1,253; Laiika, Katsaraiika, Spitakia, Xerokampi)
- Mikri Mantineia (population: 705; Alimoneika, Mikra Mantineia, Zouzouleika)
- Nedousa (population: 135)
- Piges (population: 80; Piges, Skourolakkos)
- Sperchogeia (population: 830)
The province of Kalamata (Greek: Επαρχία Καλαμών) was one of the provinces of the Messenia Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipalities Kalamata and West Mani. It was abolished in 2006.
The history of Kalamata begins with Homer (Greek:Oμηρος) who mentions Firai, an ancient city built more or less where the Kalamata Castle stands today. It was long believed that the area that the city presently occupies was covered by the sea during ancient times, but the proto-Greek and archaic period remains (Poseidon temple) that were unearthed at Akovitika region prove otherwise.
Pharai was rather unimportant in antiquity, and the site continued in obscurity until middle Byzantine times. Kalamata is first mentioned in the 10th-century Life of St. Nikon the Metanoeite, and experienced a period of prosperity in the 11th–12th centuries, as attested by the five surviving churches built in this period, including the Church of the Holy Apostles, as well as the comments of the Arab geographer al-Idrisi, who calls it a "large and populous" town.
Following the Fourth Crusade, Kalamata was conquered by Frankish feudal lords William of Champlitte and Geoffrey of Villehardouin in 1205, when its Byzantine fortress was apparently in so bad a state that it could not be defended against them. Thus the town became part of the Principality of Achaea, and after Champlitte granted its possession to Geoffrey of Villehardouin, the town was the center of the Villehardouins' patrimony in the Principality. Prince William II of Villehardouin was born and died there. After William II's death in 1278, Kalamata remained in the hands of his widow, Anna Komnene Doukaina, but when she remarried to Nicholas II of Saint Omer, King Charles of Anjou was loath to see this important castle in the hands of a vassal, and in 1282 Anna exchanged it with lands elsewhere in Messenia.
In 1292 or 1293, two local Melingoi Slavic captains managed to capture the fortress of Kalamata by a ruse and, aided by 600 of their fellow villagers, took over the entire lower town as well in the name of the Byzantine emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos. Constable John Chauderon in vain tried to secure their surrender, and was sent to Constantinople, where Andronikos agreed to hand the town over, but then immediately ordered his governor in Mystras not to do so. In the event, the town was recovered by the Franks through the intercession of a local Greek, a certain Sgouromalles. In 1298, the town formed the dowry of Princess Matilda of Hainaut upon her marriage to Guy II de la Roche. Matilda retained Kalamata as her fief until 1322, when she was dispossessed and the territory reverted to the princely domain. In 1358, Prince Robert gifted the châtellenie of Kalamata (comprising also Port-de-Jonc and Mani) to his wife, Marie de Bourbon, who kept it until her death in 1377. The town remained one of the largest in the Morea—a 1391 document places it, with 300 hearths, on par with Glarentza—but it nevertheless declined in importance throughout the 14th and 15th centuries in favour of other nearby sites like Androusa. Kalamata remained in Frankish hands until near the end of the Principality of Achaea, coming under the control of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea only in 1428.
Ottoman period and War of Independence
Kalamata was occupied by the Ottomans from 1481 to 1685, like the rest of Greece. In 1659, during the long war between Ottomans and Venetians over Crete, the Venetian commander Francesco Morosini, came into contact with the rebellious Maniots, for a joint campaign in the Morea, in the course of which he took Kalamata. He was soon after forced to return to Crete, but the Venetians returned in the Morean War.
The Venetian Republic ruled Kalamata from 1685 as part of the "Kingdom of the Morea" (Italian: Regno di Morea). During the Venetian occupation the city was fortified, developed and thrived economically. However, the Ottomans reoccupied Kalamata in the war of 1715 and controlled it until the Greek War of Independence.
Kalamata was the first city to be liberated as the Greeks rose in the Greek War of Independence. On 23 March 1821, it was taken over by the Greek revolutionary forces under the command of generals Theodoros Kolokotronis, Petros Mavromichalis and Papaflessas. However, in 1825, the invading Ibrahim Pasha destroyed the city.
In independent Greece, Kalamata was rebuilt and became one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean sea. It is not surprising that the second-oldest Chamber of Commerce in the Mediterranean, after that of Marseille, exists in Kalamata.
During World War II on 29 April 1941, a battle was fought near the port between the invading German forces and the 2nd New Zealand Division, for which Jack Hinton was later awarded the Victoria Cross.
Kalamata was again in the news on 13 September 1986, when it was hit by an earthquake that measured 6.2 on the surface wave magnitude scale. It was described as "moderately strong" but caused heavy damage throughout the city, killed 20 people and injured 330 others. Following this severe damage, the local authorities and individuals strained their financial resources to bring a wind of change to the capital of Messinia.
Due to these efforts, Kalamata has now developed into a modern provincial capital and has returned to growth during the recent years. Today, Kalamata has the second largest population and mercantile activity in Peloponnese. It makes important exports, particularly of local products such as raisins, olives and olive oil. It is also the seat of the Metropolitan Bishop of Messenia. The current Metropolitan Bishop is Chrisostomus III, since 15 March 2007.
Maria Callas Alumni Association of the Music School of Kalamata / "Maria Callas Museum" www.mariacallas.gr
There are numerous historical and cultural sights in Kalamata, such as the Villehardouin castle, the Ypapanti Byzantine church, the Kalograion monastery with its silk-weaving workshop where the Kalamata scarves are made, and the municipal railway park. The Church of the Holy Apostles is where Mavromichalis declared the revolt against Ottoman rule in 1821. Art collections are housed at the Municipal Gallery, the Archaeological Museum of Messenia and the Folk Art Museum.
- Benakeion Archaeological Museum of Kalamata, located in the heart of the historical centre of Kalamata.
- Cultural events, such as the Kalamata International Dance Festival
- Kalamata Drama International Summer School (www.kalamatadrama.com)
- Kalamata Castle from the 13th century AD.
- The marina and the Port of Kalamata, located SW of the city centre, is the main and largest port in Messenia and the southern part of the Peloponnese.
- Kalamata Municipal Stadium, home of Messiniakos, seats 5,400 spectators
- The Railway Museum of the Municipality of Kalamata, a railway museum which first opened since 1986
- Ancient Messene, some 15 to 20 km (12 mi) north-west of modern Messini
- The Temple of Apollo Epicurius is about two-hour drive north from Kalamata.
- The Maria Callas Alumni Association of the Music School of Kalamata (www.mariacallas.gr) with the exhibition of the personal letters of the legendary Maria Callas.
Cathedral of Ypapanti
Kalamata's cathedral of the Ypapanti (Presentation of the Lord to the Temple) nestles beneath the 14th-century Frankish castle. The foundation stone was laid on 25 January 1860, and the building was consecrated on 19 August 1873. It suffered great damage during the 1986 earthquake, but was subsequently restored. The Festival of the Ypapanti (27 January through 9 February) is of national importance for the Greek Orthodox Church and, locally, the occasion for a holiday (2 February), when the litany of what is believed to be a miraculous icon, first introduced in 1889, takes place.
In late January 2010 the city hosted the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the cathedral. He was offered the golden key of the city. The region around Kalamata has provided two Ecumenical patriarchs in the past.
Karelia Tobacco Company has been in operation in Kalamata since 1888.
Kalamata has a mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa) with mild, wet winters and dry, hot summers. Kalamata receives plenty of precipitation days in winter. Summers are very hot and dry. The maximum temperature ever recorded at Kalamata is 45.6 °C or 114.1 °F and the minimum ever recorded is −5 °C or 23 °F.
|Climate data for Kalamata|
|Record high °C (°F)||23.0
|Average high °C (°F)||15.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||10.2
|Average low °C (°F)||5.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−5.0
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||111.7
|Average precipitation days||12.3||10.9||10.3||6.1||5.1||1.9||0.3||0.4||1.9||6.9||10.0||11.6||77.7|
|Average relative humidity (%)||72.6||71.7||71.2||70.4||66.3||58.6||58.0||61.1||65.2||69.3||74.8||75.0||70.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||143.6||140.8||185.9||212.2||286.0||338.2||367.6||346.6||269.9||205.6||150.6||131.1||2,778.1|
|Source 1: Greek National Weather Service|
|Source 2: NOAA|
Kalamata is served by a metre gauge railway line of the former Piraeus, Athens and Peloponnese Railways, now owned by the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE). There is a station and a small freight yard in the city, as well as a rolling stock maintenance depot to the north. There used to be a mainline train service to Kyparissia, Pyrgos and Patras, and a suburban service to Messini and the General Hospital. However, in December 2010 all train services from Kalamata, along with those in the rest of the Peloponnese south of Corinth, were discontinued on economic grounds, and the train station is now closed. A previously disused extension line to the port is now a Railway Park, with old steam engines on display and a cafe in the old station building.
There is a bus link, operated by the KTEL company, to Tripoli, Corinth, and Athens with frequent services. Ferries are available to places such as the Greek islands of Kythira and Crete in the summer months. Also in the summer months, charter and scheduled flights fly direct to Kalamata International Airport from some European cities. A scheduled service by Aegean Air once a day linking Kalamata and Athens International Airport commenced in 2010.
- Kalamata olives
- Lalagia (Λαλάγγια/Λαλαγγίδες)
- Diples (dessert)
- Pasteli (dessert)
- Talagani cheese
- Sfela cheese
- Andreas Apostolopoulos (born 1952), real estate developer and sports team owner
- Giannis Christopoulos (born 1972), football coach
- Yiannis Chryssomallis ("Yanni") (born 1954), composer and musician
- Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos (1935–2012), shipowner
- George A. Iliopoulos (born 1987) actor, President of the Maria Callas Alumni Association
- Aggeliki Daliani (born 1979) actress
- Nikolaos Doxaras, painter
- Panagiotis Doxaras, painter
- Nikolaos Georgeas (born 1976), footballer
- Alexandros Koumoundouros, Prime Minister of Greece in the 19th century
- Elia Markopoulos, American professional wrestler who spent his childhood summers at his family's home in Kalamata.
- Gerasimos Michaleas (1947), American Eastern Orthodox bishop
- Panos Mihalopoulos (born 1949), actor
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (born 1988), footballer
- Prokopis Pavlopoulos (born 1950) lawyer, university professor, politician, former President of Greece from 2015 to 2020
- Vassilis Photopoulos (1934–2007) painter, film director, art director and set designer
- Nikolaos Politis (1872–1942), diplomat, lawyer
- Maria Polydouri (1902–1930), poet
- Aris San (born Aristides Saisanas, 1940–1992), Greek-Israeli singer
- Angelos Skafidas, footballer and coach
- Kenny Stamatopoulos (born 1979), footballer
- Michail Stasinopoulos (1903–2002) lawyer, President of the Republic of Greece
- Gregory Stephanopoulos (born 1950) Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT
- William II of Villehardouin (died 1278) the last Villehardouin prince of Achaea
- Mihalis Papagiannakis (1941–2009), Greek politician
- Panagiotis Benakis (1700–1771), Greek notable
- Stavros Kostopoulos (1900–1968), Greek banker and politician
- Dimitrios Stefanakos (born 1936), Greek footballer
- Konstantinos Ventiris (1892–1960), Greek army officer
- Panagiotis Bachramis (1976–2010), Greek footballer
- Nikos Economopoulos (born 1953), Greek photographer
- Bleepsgr, Greek street artist
- Thanasis Kokkinakis, (born 1996), Greek-Australian tennis player with ancestral ties to Kalamata from his father, Tryfon Kokkinakis who was born in the city
Kalamata hosts a lot of notable sport clubs with earlier presence in the higher national divisions in Greek football. It also hosts one of the oldest Greek club, the club Messiniakos FC founded in 1888.
|Sport clubs based in Kalamata|
|Messiniakos GS||1888||Football, Volleyball||Earlier presence in Beta Ethniki football, earlier presence in A1 Ethniki volleyball|
|A.E.K. Kalamata||1926||Football||Earlier presence in Beta Ethniki|
|Apollon Kalamata||1927||Football||Earlier presence in Beta Ethniki|
|Prasina Poulia Kalamata||1938||Football||Earlier presence in Beta Ethniki|
|Kalamata FC||1967||Football||Earlier presence in A Ethniki|
|AO Kalamata 1980||1980||Basketball, Volleyball||Presence in A2 Ethniki volleyball|
Twin towns—sister cities
Kalamata is twinned with:
- "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
- Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (in Greek)
- "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2015.
- "Detailed census results 1991" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. (39 MB) (in Greek and French)
- Gregory, Timothy E. (1991). "Kalamata". In Kazhdan, Alexander (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. p. 1091. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
- Bon, Antoine (1969). La Morée franque. Recherches historiques, topographiques et archéologiques sur la principauté d'Achaïe [The Frankish Morea. Historical, Topographic and Archaeological Studies on the Principality of Achaea] (in French). Paris: De Boccard. pp. 408–410. OCLC 869621129.
- Bon, Antoine (1969). La Morée franque. Recherches historiques, topographiques et archéologiques sur la principauté d'Achaïe [The Frankish Morea. Historical, Topographic and Archaeological Studies on the Principality of Achaea] (in French). Paris: De Boccard. p. 168. OCLC 869621129.
- Anagnostopolous, S. A.; Rinaldis, D.; Lekidis, V. A.; Margaris, V. N.; Theodulidis, N. P. (1987). "The Kalamata, Greece, Earthquake of September 13, 1986". Earthquake Spectra. 3 (2): 365–402. doi:10.1193/1.1585434. S2CID 128902740.
- "GREECE Kalamata now tent city". The Canberra Times. 61 (18, 614). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 18 September 1986. p. 4. Retrieved 24 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "World news: Earthquake in south Greece kills ten". The Canberra Times. 61 (18, 611). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 15 September 1986. p. 4. Retrieved 24 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "More tremors in Greek town". The Canberra Times. 61 (18, 612). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 16 September 1986. p. 4. Retrieved 24 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Castle of Kalamata Greek Castles
- "Hellenic Ministry of Culture | Railway Museum of the Municipality of Kalamata". Odysseus.culture.gr. Retrieved 21 September 2009.
- "Kalamata Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Παραδόθηκε στην κυκλοφορία ο περιφερειακός της Καλαμάτας (βίντεο), 19 Νοεμβρίου 2016, - ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ Online
- "Urban Bus". terrabook. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
- Municipality of Kalamata. "Εκδηλώσεις τιμής και μνήμης για τα θύματα και τους αγνοούμενους στην Κύπρο το 1974". Kalamata.gr. Archived from the original on 21 August 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
- "China's Xi'an forges sister city ties with Greece's Kalamata _English_Xinhua". News.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 21 September 2009.