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About Kalamata, Greece

Kalamata is the second-biggest city on southern Greece's Peloponnese peninsula (after Patras). Located on the Nedon River at the head of the Messenian Gulf, it is the capital and principal port in the Messenia region. Taking in the greater urban area, Kalamata has a population of about 70,000. The first mention of Kalamata is from Homer, who refers to Pharai, an ancient city built on the site of the current Kalamata Castle.

Rent a car in Kalamata and explore the region that gave the world Kalamata olives and the Kalamatianos dance. You're 209km from Patras and 235km from Athens. The city is named after an icon of the Virgin Mary called kalo mata ("good eye"), which was found in the stables of the Ottoman aga (governor), who was inspired to become a Christian because of the miracles it was purported to have performed. That icon is now housed in the city's massive cathedral, the Church of Ypapantis.

Kalamata's old town was decimated by the Turks during the War of Independence and rebuilt by French engineers in the 1830s. Kalamata underwent further destruction in 1986 after an earthquake that killed 20 people and flattened 10,000 homes. Today, Kalamata is a modern provincial capital with thriving industries in raisins, olives, and olive oil.

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