Kalamata, the capital of Messenia, is one of the most beautiful coastal cities in Greece and I still wonder how come I’ve never mentioned it till now! To help you spot it on the map, Messenia is a province of Greece located in the southwestern Peloponnese. I’d say that the area covers and combines more or less all the tastes; whether you are a worshiper of the mountains or a sea passionate, a lone or a group traveler, Messenia has probably what you’re looking for and guarantees an unforgettable holiday experience!
The natural beauty of Messenia with the indented shores, sandy beaches, forested mountains and fertile valleys, coexists with significant archaeological monuments.
If you’re ever traveling to Peloponnese, the city of Kalamata is definitely a must stop and here are some of the reasons why.
Looming over the town while offering probably the best city view, the fort of Kalamata worths definitely a visit. This kastro (well, the castle in Greek) was established during the Byzantine era and up to this day visitors can walk among the ruins of that time. It has remarkably survived the strong earthquake in 1986 and since then it has attracted multiple of tourists looking for some tranquility away from the city’s noise!
No less beautiful is the exquisite Palia Poli (Old Town) at the foot of the Castle, mentioned above. It is actually considered to be the best place to start your tour, since it boasts multiple neoclassical buildings, 19th-century churches, fashion boutiques, art shops and traditional cafes. Specifically, on Ipapanti square stands the majestic Cathedral of Ipapanti, with the two bell towers and silver domes. The cathedral hosts the icon from which Kalamata took its current name, and which according to the legend was found in the ruins of the temple that was destroyed in 1770.
The Folklore and History Museum is housed in the Kiriakou mansion, with traditional objects and relics from the 1821 Greek War of Independence. This quaint blue building holds an exquisite collection of donated local artefacts that offer a thorough insight into Kalamata’s history!
It is actually one of Greece’s first theme parks. Its two-storey central station building, along with its steam locomotives, the diesel engines, and the freight cars make it a treat for kids of all ages! Exhibits of old motorcycles and railway wagons will definitely impress even the tougher audiences!
The museum building is located at the heart of the historic center of Kalamata, where the Municipal Market of the city used to be. The exhibition aims to display the antiquities of Messenia from the Prehistoric times until the Byzantine era in the most complete and interactive way possible. Exhibits include everything from sculpture, pottery and funereal objects to Roman mosaics, gold jewellery and votive offerings. It also provides wonderful context to the surrounding areas.
You thought I'd end this story with no beach references?
Kalamata can be characterised as the ornament of the Messinian Gulf. In fact its beach is one of the first in Greece awarded with the ‘Blue Flag’, the well-known environmental symbol of quality worldwide. Walking barefoot in the sand will give you plenty of time to appreciate this seemingly endless paradise. The area is bustling with life! Major hotels, beach bars, cafes, tavernas and ouzeris provide you with anything you might need for an unforgettable stroll at the beach!
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