Kalamata (Greek: Καλαμάτα [kalaˈmata]) is the second most populous city of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece after Patras, 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.[3]

Clockwise from top right: Promenade of Kalamata, Saint John Church, Kyriakou Folklore Museum, Kalamata City Hall, Archaeological Museum of Messenia, Church of the Holy Apostles, Kalamata Castle
Official seal of Kalamata
Kalamata is located in Greece
Location within the region
Coordinates: 37°02′16″N 22°06′40″E / 37.03778°N 22.11111°E / 37.03778; 22.11111
Administrative regionPeloponnese
Regional unitMessenia
 • MayorAthanasios Vasilopoulos[1] (since 2019)
 • Municipality440.3 km2 (170.0 sq mi)
 • Municipal unit253.3 km2 (97.8 sq mi)
Highest elevation
21 m (69 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 • Municipality72,906
 • Density170/km2 (430/sq mi)
 • Municipal unit
 • Municipal unit density260/km2 (680/sq mi)
 • Community
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
241 00
Area code(s)27210
Vehicle registrationKM

The 2021 census recorded 72,906 inhabitants for the wider Kalamata Municipality, of which 66,135 resided in the municipal unit of Kalamata, and 58,816 in the city proper.[2] Kalamata is renowned as the land of the Kalamatianos dance, Kalamata olives and Kalamata olive oil.



The modern name Kalamáta likely comes from Παναγία η Καλαμάτα, Panagía i Kalamáta, 'Virgin Mary with beautiful eyes'; another hypothesis is a corruption of the older name Καλάμαι, Kalámai, 'reeds'.[4]



The municipality Kalamata was formed as part of the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following four former municipalities, each of which subsequently became municipal units:[5]

The municipality has an area of 440 km2 (170 sq mi), the area of the municipal unit is 253 km2 (98 sq mi).[6]



The municipal unit of Kalamata is subdivided into the following communities (population according to the 2021 census, settlements within the community listed):[2]

Municipal Unit:

  • Kalamata (population: 66,135)

Local communities:

  • Kalamata city proper (population 58,816)
  • Alagonia (population: 154; Alagonia, Machalas)
  • Antikalamos (population: 390; Antikalamos, Goulismata)
  • Artemisia (population: 88; Agios Ioannis Theologos, Artemisia, Theotokos)
  • Asprochoma (population: 1,244; Akovitika, Asprochoma, Kagkareika, Kalami, Katsikovo, Lagkada-Dimitrakopouleika)
  • Verga (population: 2,125; Paralia Vergas, Ano Verga, Kato Verga )
  • Elaiochori (population: 243; Arachova, Dendra, Diasella, Elaiochori, Moni Dimiovis, Perivolakia)
  • Karveli (population: 74; Agia Triada, Emialoi, Karveli, Kato Karveli)
  • Ladas (population: 102; Agia Marina, Agios Vasileios, Ladas, Silimpoves-Agios Vasilis)
  • Laiika (population: 1,449; Laiika, Katsaraiika, Spitakia, Xerokampi)
  • Mikri Mantineia (population: 615; Alimoneika, Mikra Mantineia, Zouzouleika)
  • Nedousa (population: 86)
  • Piges (population: 71; Piges, Skourolakkos)
  • Sperchogeia (population: 678)



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.[7] It was abolished in 2006.


View of the Kalamata Castle

The history of Kalamata begins with Homer (Greek: Ομηρος), 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.

Middle Ages

The Byzantine-era Church of the Holy Apostles

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.[8]

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.[8][9] 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.[9]

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.[10] 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.[9] 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.[9] 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.[9]

Ottoman period and War of Independence

Engraving of Kalamata, 1686

Kalamata was occupied by the Ottomans in 1481.[citation needed] In 1659, during the long war between Ottomans and Venetians over Crete, the Venetian commander Francesco Morosini, captured Kalamata in an effort to divert Ottoman attention from the Siege of Candia, and raise a wider revolt with the Maniots and Arvanites of the Morea. The Venetian fleet took Kalamata without effort, as the Ottomans abandoned the town. The town and its castle were plundered and destroyed, and alle able-bodied men were carried off to serve as rowers in the Venetian galleys.[11][12] Morosini returned in 1685, at the start of the Morean War: on 14 September 1685 the Venetians defeated an Ottoman army before Kalamata, and again plundered and destroyed the town's castle, as it was judged obsolete.[13][14] Kalamata was then ruled by Venice as part of the "Kingdom of the Morea" (Italian: Regno di Morea). During the Venetian occupation the city was developed and thrived economically. However, the Ottomans reoccupied Kalamata in the war of 1715 and controlled it until the Greek War of Independence.

Petros Mavromichalis raises Messenia in revolt, by Peter von Hess

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 Ottoman officer Ibrahim Pasha destroyed the city.

Modern period

Monument to Greek Asia Minor
The city hall
Folklore museum (Kyriakou mansion)
The archaeological museum

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. In 1934, a large strike of harbor workers occurred in Kalamata. The strike was violently suppressed by the government, resulting in the death of five workers and two other residents of the town.[15]

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 liberated on 9 September 1944, after a battle between ELAS and the local Nazi collaborators.

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.[16][17][18][19]

Kalamata has developed into a modern provincial capital and has returned to growth in 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 Chrysostomus III of Kalamata, since 15 March 2007.


View from the castle
View of the old town
Agios Ioannis (St. John) church
Karelia Tobacco Company factory

Maria Callas Alumni Association of the Music School of Kalamata / "Maria Callas Museum"

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.

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,[18] 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.


Historic advertising for olive oil soap from Kalamata

Kalamata's Chamber of Commerce is the second-oldest in the Mediterranean after Marseille. Kalamata is well known for its black Kalamata olives.

Karelia Tobacco Company has been in operation in Kalamata since 1888.

Historical population

Year City Municipal unit Municipality
1981 42,075
1991 43,625 50,693
2001 49,550 57,620
2011 54,567 62,409 69,849
2021 58,816 66,135 72,906



According to the meteorological station in the nearby airport, Kalamata has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa) with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.[23] Kalamata receives plenty of precipitation during the winter, while summers are hot and generally dry with plenty of sunshine. The highest maximum temperature ever recorded in Kalamata is 45.0 °C or 113.0 °F on 24 June 2007 and the lowest minimum ever recorded is −5 °C or 23 °F on 14 February 2004. A reading of 45.1 °C (113.2 °F) was reported in the city station which is operated by the National Observatory of Athens on 23 July 2023.[24]

Climate data for Kalamata airport, HNMS 1971–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 23.0
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 14.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.8
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 5.4
Record low °C (°F) −5.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 105.6
Average precipitation days 14.4 13.7 11.8 10.3 6.8 3.0 1.5 2.4 6.1 9.9 12.8 15.7 108.4
Average relative humidity (%) 75.0 73.5 73.3 70.3 66.3 57.7 57.8 61.3 66.8 72.1 77.6 77.3 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: HNMS climate means,[25] NOAA extremes & sunshine 1961-1990[26] Info Climat extremes 1991-present[27]


The railway station

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 complete.[28]

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 café 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 Airlines once a day linking Kalamata and Athens International Airport commenced in 2010.

Kalamata also has four urban bus lines that cross the city and its suburbs.[29]


A plate with black Kalamata olives

Local specialities:

Notable people

Maria Polydouri
Prokopis Pavlopoulos, former President of Greece

Sporting teams


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
Club Founded Sports Achievements
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
Argis Kalamata 1994 Athletics

International relations


Twin towns—sister cities


Kalamata is twinned with:

See also



  1. ^ Municipality of Kalamata, Municipal elections – October 2023 Archived 8 May 2024 at the Wayback Machine, Ministry of Interior
  2. ^ a b c "Αποτελέσματα Απογραφής Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2021, Μόνιμος Πληθυσμός κατά οικισμό" [Results of the 2021 Population - Housing Census, Permanent population by settlement] (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority. 29 March 2024.
  3. ^ For a detailed introduction to various aspects of the city, see the Kalamata Municipality’s online guide Archived 18 June 2024 at the Wayback Machine (undated)(retrieved 18/06/2024).
  4. ^ Kolonia, Amalia; Peri, Massimo, eds. (2008). "Gli scambi linguistici fra Italia e Grecia". Greco antico neogreco e italiano (in Italian and Greek). Bologna: Zanichelli. p. 95. ISBN 978-88-08-06429-5.
  5. ^ "ΦΕΚ A 87/2010, Kallikratis reform law text" (in Greek). Government Gazette. Archived from the original on 18 July 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Detailed census results 1991" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. (39 MB) (in Greek and French)
  8. ^ a b 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.
  9. ^ a b c d e 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Andrews, Kevin (1978) [1953]. Castles of the Morea. Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert. p. 30. ISBN 90-256-0794-2.
  12. ^ Finlay, George (1877). A History of Greece from its Conquest by the Romans to the Present Time, B.C. 146 to A.D. 1864, Vol. V: Greece under Othoman and Venetian Domination A.D. 1453–1821. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 177.
  13. ^ Andrews, Kevin (1978) [1953]. Castles of the Morea. Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert. p. 28. ISBN 90-256-0794-2.
  14. ^ Finlay, George (1877). A History of Greece from its Conquest by the Romans to the Present Time, B.C. 146 to A.D. 1864, Vol. V: Greece under Othoman and Venetian Domination A.D. 1453–1821. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 177–178.
  15. ^ Μπιτσάνης, Ηλίας. "80 χρόνια από την εξέγερση των λιμενεργατών Καλαμάτας". ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ Online (in Greek). Archived from the original on 9 December 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  16. ^ 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. Bibcode:1987EarSp...3..365A. doi:10.1193/1.1585434. S2CID 128902740.
  17. ^ "GREECE Kalamata now tent city". The Canberra Times. Vol. 61, no. 18, 614. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 18 September 1986. p. 4. Archived from the original on 11 July 2024. Retrieved 24 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  18. ^ a b "World news: Earthquake in south Greece kills ten". The Canberra Times. Vol. 61, no. 18, 611. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 15 September 1986. p. 4. Archived from the original on 11 July 2024. Retrieved 24 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  19. ^ "More tremors in Greek town". The Canberra Times. Vol. 61, no. 18, 612. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 16 September 1986. p. 4. Archived from the original on 11 July 2024. Retrieved 24 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  20. ^ "Καλαμάτα - Μουσεία". Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  21. ^ Castle of Kalamata Archived 11 July 2024 at the Wayback Machine Greek Castles
  22. ^ "Hellenic Ministry of Culture | Railway Museum of the Municipality of Kalamata". Odysseus.culture.gr. Archived from the original on 25 July 2009. Retrieved 21 September 2009.
  23. ^ "Kalamata, Greece Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Archived from the original on 19 March 2023. Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  24. ^ "Latest Conditions in Kalamata". penteli.meteo.gr. Archived from the original on 25 July 2023. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  25. ^ "Κλιματικά Δεδομένα ανά Πόλη- ΜΕΤΕΩΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΑ, ΕΜΥ, Εθνική Μετεωρολογική Υπηρεσία". Archived from the original on 14 March 2023. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  26. ^ "Kalamata Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  27. ^ "Normales et records climatologiques 1991-2020 à Kalamata Airport - Infoclimat". Archived from the original on 16 June 2023. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  28. ^ Παραδόθηκε στην κυκλοφορία ο περιφερειακός της Καλαμάτας (βίντεο) Archived 3 February 2018 at the Wayback Machine, 19 Νοεμβρίου 2016, - ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ Online
  29. ^ "Urban Bus". terrabook. Archived from the original on 22 September 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  30. ^ Durrell was the director of the British Council’s English Language Institute in Kalamata from September 1940 to April 1941. The little house provided for him on Navarinou Street (no. 83), on the seafront, remains. With his first wife Nancy (née Myers) and baby daughter Penelope, the family fled to Egypt as the German army advanced (see, e.g., Ian MacNiven (1998), Lawrence Durrell: a biography, Faber, pp.226-7; Nikos Zervis (1999), Lawrence Durrell in Kalamata, isbn: 978-960-90690-1-0 (published privately) (in Greek); Joanna Hodgkin (2023), Amateurs in Eden: the story of a bohemian marriage; Nancy and Lawrence Durrell, Virago, pp.258-63
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ "China's Xi'an forges sister city ties with Greece's Kalamata _English_Xinhua". News.xinhuanet.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 21 September 2009.
  33. ^ Kampouris, Nick (12 February 2020). "Lowell, Massachusetts and Kalamata, Greece to Become Sister Cities". Greek Reporter. Archived from the original on 15 May 2021. Retrieved 29 October 2021.