|Mayor:||Panagiotis Nikas (ND)
(since: 29 December 2010)
|Population statistics (as of 2011)|
|- Area:||442.7 km2 (171 sq mi)|
|- Density:||158 /km2 (409 /sq mi)|
|- Area:||253.2 km2 (98 sq mi)|
|- Density:||246 /km2 (638 /sq mi)|
|Time zone:||EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)|
|Elevation (min-max):||0–21 m (0–69 ft)|
|Postal code:||241 00|
Kalamata (Greek: Καλαμάτα Kalamáta, formerly Καλάμαι Kalámai) is the most populous city of the Peloponnese region in southern Greece. The capital and chief port of the Messenia regional unit, it lies along the Nedon River at the head of the Messenian Gulf.
The history of Kalamata begins with Homer, who mentions Pharai, an ancient city built more or less where the castle stands today. It was believed that during ancient times the area that the city presently occupies was covered by the sea, but the proto-Greek and archaic period remains (Poseidon temple) that were unearthed at Akovitika region prove the opposite.
It lies 238 km (148 mi) SW of Athens, about 60 km (37 mi) SE of Kyparissia and GR-9, about 120 km (75 mi) SSE of Pyrgos, about 80 km (50 mi) SW of Tripoli, about 60 km (37 mi) W of Sparta, NW of Areopoli and about 8 km (5.0 mi) E of Messene, it is also 215 km (134 mi) south of Patras and 715 [old: 750] kilometres (444 mi) south of Thessaloniki. The 2011 census recorded 70,130 inhabitants, but it is a busy city and on a regular daily basis there are more than 100,000 people working and circulating in it.
Kalamata is renowned as the land of the Kalamatianos dance and the silk kerchief; of succulent, dark "Kalamata olives"; and of honey-eyed figs and the honey-covered sesame sweet called pasteli. The city can be reached from other Greek cities by bus and train. It has an international airport and an important harbour. Ferries are available to places such as the Greek islands of Kythira and Crete.
The Messenian Gulf where Kalamata is located has various long beaches. The Taygetus mountain range is about 4 km (2.5 mi) east of Kalamata and the GR-82 Kalamata–Sparta highway runs through the range.
Kalamata has schools, lyceums, gymnasia, banks, a post office, and squares (plateia). The newly established University of the Peloponnese has a campus in Kalamata, where the history, literature, religion and philosophy departments are located. The Kalamata campus of the university also provides free Greek lessons to expatriate Greeks. The TEI of Kalamata is also located in the city.
The modern name Kalamáta is a corruption of the older name Καλάμαι, Kalámai, "reeds". The sonic similarity of Kalamáta with the phrase "kalá mátia" ("good eyes") has led to various folk etymologies.
The municipality Kalamata was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 4 former municipalities, that became municipal units:
The municipal unit of Kalamata is subdivided into the following communities (population according to the 2011 census and settlements within the district in brackets):
Municipal communities (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 (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.
Unlike many other Greek cities, Kalamata does not date to classical times. However, Messene, located some 25 km (16 mi) north-west of Kalamata and about 15 to 20 km (12 mi) from modern Messini, is an important ancient site. From 1681 on the Venetians ruled Kalamata. On 23 March 1821, Kalamata was the first city to be captured from the Ottoman rule of over 300 years, by the Greek revolutionary forces under the command of generals Theodoros Kolokotronis, Petros Mavromichalis and Papaflessas. In 1825, Ibrahim Pasha destroyed the city during the Greek war of independence. After this, 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. On 29 April 1941, a battle was fought near the port between invading German forces and the 2nd New Zealand Division, during which Jack Hinton was awarded the Victoria Cross. 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 brake 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 unknown, and only after the city suffered severe damage from the earthquakes of 13 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. It is also the seat of the Metropolitan Bishop of Messinia. Current Metropolitan Bishop is Chrysostomus III since 15 March 2007.
Kalamata was under Frankish occupation between 1205 and 1381, ruled by the French Villehardouin family (1210 to 1278) from the castle they built. Later occupied by the Turks from 1481 to 1685 like the rest of Greece, the city was next taken over by the Venetians in 1685. During the Venetian occupation the city was fortified, developed and thrived economically. However, the Turks reoccupied Kalamata in 1715 and controlled it until the Greek War of Independence of 1821 when Petrobeis Mavromihalis liberated the city. Kalamata was again in the news and headlines on Saturday, 13 September 1986, as an earthquake measured at almost 6.6 on the Richter scale. The earthquake, although, moderately strong-reported caused heavy damage and killed 20 people.
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. Although the city experienced catastrophic consequences after the earthquake of 1986, it has overall recovered its pace and is forging ahead successfully from a commercial aspect.
There are numerous historical and cultural sights in Kalamata, such as the Villehardouin castle, the Ypapandis Byzantine church, the Kalograion monastery with its silk-weaving workshop where the Kalamata scarves are made, and the municipal railway park. Mavromihalis declared the revolution in the church of Agion Apostolon. Art collections are housed at the Municipal Gallery, the Archaeological Museum of Messenia and the Folk Art Museum.
Church of the Ypapandi 
Kalamata’s catehdral of the Ypapandi (Presentation of the Lord to the Temple) nestles beneath the 14th century Frankish castle. The foundation stone was laid on Jan 25, 1860 and the building was consecrated on Aug 19, 1873. It suffered great damage during the 1986 earthquake, but was subsequently restored. The Festival of the Ypapandi (27.01 - 09.02) is of national importance for the Greek orthodox world and, locally, the occasion for a holiday (02.02). The litany of the miraculous Icon was first introduced in 1889 and takes place every year on Feb 02, no matter the weather.
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.
Historical population 
Kalamata is accessed by GR-7/E55/E65 in the west and GR-82 runs through Kalamata and into the Taygetus. The motorway to Kalamata from Tripoli is almost complete, with just one 30 km section between Paradisia and Allagi still to be opened in 2013.
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 (KTEL) to Tripoli, Corinth and Athens with frequent services.
Since the mid-80s there has been a regular weekly cruise-boat route between Kalamata – Kythira – Chania (Crete), operating only 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 has a Mediterranean Climate (Csa) with mild, and 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 42,6°C and the minimum ever recorded is -5°C.
|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
|Precipitation mm (inches)||111.7
|Avg. precipitation days||12.3||10.9||10.3||6.1||5.1||1.9||1.3||1.4||1.9||6.9||10.0||11.6||95.5|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||143.6||140.8||185.9||212.2||286.0||238.2||357.6||336.6||269.9||205.6||150.6||131.1||2,658|
|Source #1: Greek National Weather Service |
|Source #2: NOAA|
- Benakeion Archaeological Museum of Kalamata, located in the heart of the historical centre of Kalamata.
- Byzantine churches
- Cultural events, such as the International Dance Festival
- Kalamata International Dance Festival
- The Castle of Kalamata from the 13th century AD.
- The Marina and the Port of Kalamata, located SW of the city centre. It is the main and largest port in Messinia and the southern part of the Peloponnese.
- Kalamatas National Stadium – home of Messiniakos, it contains 5,000 spectators
- The Kalamata International Airport, an airport located about 7 km (4.3 mi) NW, close to Messene. The runway length is about 2 km (1.2 mi) and it is combined with a military airport.
- 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, about two hour's drive north from Kalamata
- Tourist information
Notable people 
- William II of Villehardouin (d. 1278) the last Villehardouin prince of Achaea
- Yiannis Balis (1932) Physician Scientist, Discoverer of Lamellar bodies and their associated function
- Yiannis Chryssomallis ("Yanni") (1954) composer and musician
- Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos (1935-2012) shipowner
- Elia Markopoulos, American professional wrestler who spent his childhood summers at his family's home in Kalamata.
- Aggeliki Daliani (1979) actress
- Nikolaos Doxaras, painter
- Panagiotis Doxaras, painter
- Andreas Apostolopoulos (1952) Real estate developer and sports team owner
- Alexandros Koumoundouros, Prime Minister of Greece in the 19th century
- Gerasimos Michaleas (1947) Orthodox Christian Metropolitan bishop of San Francisco, California, USA
- Panos Mihalopoulos (1949) actor
- Nikolaos Georgeas (1976) footballer
- Nikolaos Lyberopoulos, (1975) footballer
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (1988) footballer
- Kenny Stamatopoulos (1979) footballer
- Prokopis Pavlopoulos (1950) lawyer, university professor and politician
- Vassilis Photopoulos (1934–2007) painter, film director, art director and set designer
- Nikolaos Politis, folklorist
- Konstantinos Koulocheris, journalist
- Maria Polydouri (1902–1930) poet
- Michail Stasinopoulos (1903–2002) lawyer, President of the Republic of Greece
- Panagiotis Moragiannis (1976) Greek-Australian Politician
- George Kouroumalis (1984) Greek-Australian Journalist
- Panagiotis Dimopoulos (1934) Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court
- Petros Karakousis Paediatrician
- Konstantinos Bouras Waiter
Sporting teams 
- Apollon Kalamatas
- Kalamata FC – second division
- Messiniakos FC – third division
- Olympiakos Kalamatas
- Prasina Poulia Kalamata (literally the Green Bird)
International relations 
Twin towns — Sister cities 
Kalamata is twinned with:
See also 
- Detailed census results 2011 (Greek)
- Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
- PDF (39 MB) (Greek) (French)
- "Kalamata Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- "Hellenic Ministry of Culture | Railway Museum of the Municipality of Kalamata". Odysseus.culture.gr. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
- "China's Xi'an forges sister city ties with Greece's Kalamata _English_Xinhua". News.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kalamata|
- Municipality of Kalamata (Greek)
- Historic maps of Kalamata
- Messinian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Ministry of Culture – Messinia
- Kalamata The Official website of the Greek National Tourism Organisation