From Olives to Dance in Kalamata
Posted on February 11, 2013 by sguese
What was once the ancient city of Pharai is now Messinia’s capital and the second largest city in the Peloponnese. Kalamata may not be best known for its size, but rather its olives. The town evidently gets its name
from the miracle-working icon of the Virgin Mary known as kalo mata, otherwise good eye. The icon was discovered in the stables of the Ottoman governor. The discovery would convert the governor and the town to Christianity due to the miracles it performed. Other than the miraculous and
for the olives, Kalamata warrants a visit for its fine museums and history. While the Turks destroyed the old town during the War of Independence, French engineers would rebuild it in the 1830s.
Kalamata’s Kastro is hard to miss while in town. The castle looms over the town in its 13th century glory. It is also a bit of a survivor. Kalamata’s Kastro survived the city’s devastating 1986 earthquake. Visitors come to bask in its entry gate and the impressive views from the battlements.
The museums of Kalamata further the interest of this city, including the Benakion Archaeological Museum and the Military Museum. The Benakion Archaeological Museum might be small, but its prehistoric display carry large impressions. The Military Museum sets up in Kalamata, mostly for military buffs. The museum details this part of Greece from Turkish occupation to the 21st century.
Once you get hungry in Kalamata, head to the Food Market. The large food market rests right across the bridge from KTEL Messinia bus station. The proof is in the pudding here in terms of why Kalamata is known for its olives, olive oil and figs.
If you are in town for Kalamata’s International Dance Festival, you are in for a treat. The festival has long been attracting contemporary dance groups from around the world. Throughout ten days of performances, seminars and films in mid July, you can experience the best of international dance in Greece. Most of the events take place in the amphitheater of the town’s castle.
Kalamata is somewhat of a rarity. The town manages to remain calm despite its size, set up on the sea in the southern part of the Peloponnese. While best known for tasty olives, Kalamata is also the birthplace of New Age performer Yanni. Yes, all types come out of Kalamata, drawn to this city’s neoclassical homes and location on the foot of Tavgetos.
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