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The French Institute Building in Kalamata

There are many well-preserved neoclassical and listed buildings in Kalamata, in various spots in the city. One of the most important is the former residence of the Efesiou family, which is a typical example of neoclassical building; creation of an Italian architect in the late 19th century. In 1958 it was sold to the French Government by the Efesiou family, and after that it housed the French Institute for many years. However, the building was severely damaged by the 1986 earthquake; something that demanded extensive restoration work.

It is an impressive edifice with luxurious decoration. The ceilings of the entire first floor, as well as the entranceway to the stairs, are decorated with spectacular murals and ceiling frescoes, while the floor of the entrance hall is lined with marble plaques. The initial frame of the building already existed and was used in the past as a stable or a storage room. The main building was attached to that, based on a symmetrical plan design. Later on, a second floor was added, facing the courtyard.

The French State granted the building to the Ministry of Culture in order to house a museum. Following this it was decided that it should serve as a cultural centre that would house the General State Archives, the French Consulate and quite possibly the collections of the Museum of Incunabula.

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