Kalamata is built at the foot of Mount Taygetos and in the heart of the Messinian Gulf, it has a mild climate, well designed street planning, wide roads and a beautiful four kilometre-long beach, ideal for swimming. The small Byzantine church of Agioi Apostoloi, the Frankish castle, the railway park, the impressive museums, the numerous neoclassical buildings housing public services and cultural organizations, as well as the modern amphitheatre in the castle that every summer for the last 20 years hosts the International Dance Festival make Kalamata one of the most interesting cities in Greece and the ideal starting point to explore the wider area and its unique natural beauty, like the Messinian Mani, Mount Taygetos, Koroni, ancient Messini and many others.
Kalamata, the capital and the main port of the prefecture of Messinia, is situated where the Homeric Farai used to be. It has a population of 70,130 and it is built on the edge of Taygetus, in the heart of the Messinian bay. The city steadily opens toward the sea, with beautiful town planning, mild Mediterranean climate, wide roads and a beautiful beach, 4 km long, which is ideal for swimming.
The city played an integral role in the Greek War of Independence and was many times destroyed by enemies and natural disasters; from the 19th century onwards it has been an important commercial harbour of the Peloponnese and of southern Greece in general.
The city is crowned by the Castle, built by the 13th century Frankish rulers, the Villehardouins; every summer, for two decades now, the modern amphitheatre built there hosts the International Dance Festival and other cultural events. The small Byzantine church of Aghii Apostoli (whence the Greek Revolution began, on March 23, 1821) stands amidst a square and neighborhood intended for pedestrians, and the surrounding neighborhoods hide many neoclassical buildings which house offices or various cultural societies.
In Kalamata, an ideal city for walking around its pedestrian areas, where exhibitions and many cultural events are often held, one discovers tempting places that offer food or drink. The city also has: the excellent Archaeological Museum of Messinia, which is housed in the building of the Old Municipal Market and includes findings from all over Messinia, symbolically following the flow of river Paminus, the History and Folklore Museum, where there is also a section dedicated to book binding and typography, the Military Museum, the Contemporary Greek Art Gallery, with a very rich collection of works by Greek artists, mainly deriving from the 1950s and 1960s, the “A. Tassos” Municipal Gallery, which mainly includes works from the 1980s, as well as many other organizations which cultivate Music and the Arts.
Kalamata always was and continues to be a city of commerce and culture. From the 19th century onwards it became a great commercial and shipping centre, with the production of raisin and silk. Today its rich museums, the Municipal Railway Park, the paved square – a place for entertainment in the winter and for concerts in the summer, the marked bicycle lane and the pavement along the coastal road all contribute to making Kalamata one of the most interesting cities in Greece, as well as a central point for getting to know the surrounding area with its unique beauties, such as the Messinian Mani, Taygetus, Koroni, ancient Messini and others.