Where Is Kalamata?Kalamata is located on the Peloponnese peninsula, a large near-island to the west of Attica and Athens. The peninsula roughly resembles a four-fingered hand spread out with fingers pointing down, and Kalamata is located at the juncture of the little and next "finger" from the left.
Getting to KalamataThe Peloponnese peninsula is served by a good "ring" road and you can drive the approximately 150 miles to Kalamata from Athens, with the first portion of the journey on broad, multi-laned freeway-type roads. It can be reached by long-distance KTEL bus from Athens. In pre-Greek times, the area would have had ties with the ancient Minoan civilization based on Crete.
There is a train station, but as of this writing in 2012, the service has been suspended. As the OSE train service in Greece reorganizes itself, subject to a possible sale, it may resume. But for the time being, it's safer to assume that there is no train service to Kalamata.
The port at Kalamata also has some ferry service to the Greek island of Kythira and on to Chania, Crete.
About KalamataKalamata is a traditional Greek city and is the capital of the region of Messenia. It has some tourism, but most of its economy is based on local agriculture, shipping, and other business.
Sightseeing in KalamataKalamata has several museums; like most semi-official organizations in Kalamata, they are generally located in Neoclassical or Venetian-style former mansions.
- Benaki Museum
- Kalamata Archaeological Museum
- Folklore Museum
- Kalamata Open-Air Railway Museum
Kalamata's Famous Native SonOlives are not the only famous thing to come out of Kalamata. Does Olympic swimmer turned musician Yiannis Chryssomallis ring any bells? Better known as just Yanni, he also hails from Kalamata and still maintains a home in the area.
Folkarts in KalamataKalamata has a long-established silk industry and it is still possible to find locally-woven silk scarves. It's also even more possible to find some lovely silk scarves imported from China or India, so if you are determined to have a local handcraft, look for items with tags indicating that the scarf was made in Kalamata or, better yet, make the climb to the Castle of Kalamata and to the nearby monastery where nuns still weave them. Down below, genuine local silks tend to be in plainer colors than imports, but even that is no guarantee. Ironically, the Greek financial crisis has given a boost to some truly local handcrafts as international bank transfers have become more difficult for small businesses, so at least some of them have turned back to local Greek suppliers.
Kalamata Castle is also the site of the annual International Dance Festival of Kalamata, held every summer.
History of KalamataWhile there's virtually nothing left, part of Kalamata Castle was built over the ruins of an ancient town known as Pherai or Fare. Like many places in Greece, it was under the rule of many different masters since the Middle Ages. The area and town endured Norman domination, rule by the Kings of Navarre (slightly less common), then the Ottoman Empire, with a temporary interruption when it was held by the Venetians.
Kalamata International AirportKalamata's small yet International Airport comes into its own during the summer, where there are foreign charter flights. There are also flights between Kalamata and Athens. Kalamata's airport code is KLX. In March, 2013, Aegean Airlines is adding flights to Munich, Dusseldorf and Stockholm, in addition to a seasonal Moscow flight. Charter flights connect Kalamata with the UK, Germany, Austria, and Norway.
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