Return to Home Page Harrys Greece Guide

Kalamata: The Peloponnese: Messinia Prefecture Page Four

the marketThe town was rebuilt on the same grid plan from the 19th century. The old quarter at the foot of castle was badly damaged by the earthquake, but survived. Two decades later, the bazaar area and waterfront are again bustling with activity.

Kalamata is world renowned for its olives (the best export olives from Greece) which are sold both fresh and preserved, and other local specialties include figs, bananas, honey, sesame cakes and raki (the spirit also known in Greek as tsipouro, distilled from the grape pulp left from wine-making). Unfortunately, Kalamata is a very polluted city.

the port of kalamataThe Kastro was built by by Geoffrey Villehardouin in 1208 on the acropolis of ancient Pharai, and was held by this powerful French family for almost a century. It was captured by the Slavs in 1293, but won back again and passed to the French Duke of Athens in 1300. Florentines and Angevins held it until it passed to the Palaiologoi in 1425. Next came the Venetians, followed by the Turks, who blew up part of it in 1685 and the Venetians finished it off.

Under Turkish rule (which began in 1460), the town became wealthy on the products of the fertile plain. In 1769, Kalamata took part in the Orloff revolt, for which it was severely punished by the Turks. The city was the first to be freed during the Greek War of Independence and the first newspaper to be published on Greek soil was issued here in 1821 (the first year of the revolution). The remains of the Kastro consist of an outer 'enceinte', an inner redoubt and a keep. An amphitheater at its base houses summer concerts.

Kalamata Page One | Two | Three | Four | Five