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Kalamata: The Peloponnese: Messinia Prefecture Page Five

helemet fromthe museumThe Benaki Archaeological Museum (Tues-Sun, 8:30am-3pm; 2euros admission) houses a well labelled collection of Byzantine icons, relics of the War of Independence, tomb reliefs, sculptures and smaller items from the vicinity of the city, a Roman mosaic, stone tools and Neolithic pottery from sites at Malthi; Mycenean, proto Geometric and Geometric pottery, Mycenaean figurines from Karpofora, Achaean and Hellenistic pottery, late Classical, Hellenistic and Roman statuary, late Byzantine icons, folk embroidery.

The museum is housed in two old mansions belonging to the Benaki and Kyriakou familes and is near the church of Aghios Ioannis.

kalamata cathedralThe Church of the Apostles, built by Andronicus Paleologue in 1317 has painting inside its dome (which is part of the modern church), and a ruined Frankish bell tower. The Messinian Senate was formed in this church. Kalamata's Cathedral was built in 1859, and has an icon allegedly by St. Luke, in its own museum, along with church vessels, gospels and vestments. A Historical and Folk Museum, run by the Association for the Propagation of Learning, houses weapons, household utensils, folk art and War of Independence paintings. The People's Library contains 40,000 volumes.

Below the kastro is the 18th century nunnery, which was the center of the silk-weaving industry, with both ancient and modern looms on display.

The city beach along Navarinou, a ten minute bus ride south from the city center, is not a beautiful one, and is often crowded. The harbor can be walked to in half an hour from the center, and there's a park with old steam engines and rolling stock at the open air Railway Museum.(free). Trains leave from Kalamata for Kyparissia.

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