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Kalamata (Municipality, Greece)


Last modified: 2014-11-15 by ivan sache
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Flag of Kalamata - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 23 October 2013

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Presentation of Kalamata

The municipality of Kalamata (69,849 inhabitants in 2011; 44,270 ha) was formed in the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities of Arfara (Αρφαρά, 3,212 inh.), Aris (Άρις, 2,189 inh.), Kalamata (62,409 inh.), and Thouria (Θουρία, 4,106 inh.).

Kalamata is located on the Messenian Gulf with various long beaches. Kalamata is renowned as the land of the Kalamatianos dance and the silk kerchief, of succulent dark Kalamata olives, and of honey-eyed figs and the honey-covered sesame sweet called "pasteli".
There are numerous historical and cultural sights in Kalamata, such as the Villehardouin castle, the Ypapandis Byzantine church, the Kalograion monastery with its silk-weaving workshop where the Kalamata scarves are made.

Homer mentions Pharai, an ancient city built more or less where the castle stands today. Kalamata was under Frankish occupation between 1205 and 1381, ruled by the French Villehardouin family (1210 to 1278) from the castle they built. Later occupied by the Turks from 1481 to 1685 like the rest of Greece, the city was next taken over by the Venetians in 1685. During the Venetian occupation the city was fortified, developed and thrived economically. However, the Turks reoccupied Kalamata in 1715 and controlled it until the Greek War of Independence of 1821.
On 23 March 1821, Kalamata was the first city to be captured from the Ottoman rule of over 300 years, by the Greek revolutionary forces under the command of generals Theodoros Kolokotronis, Petros Mavromichalis and Papaflessas. In 1825, Ibrahim Pasha destroyed the city during the Greek War of Independence. After this, Kalamata was rebuilt and became one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean sea.
After World War II, and due to political issues, Kalamata, as well as most of the Peloponnese, was excluded from the government development plans in favour of north Greece. After the city suffered severe damage from the earthquakes of 13 September 1986 (which caused heavy damage and killed 20 people), efforts were made so that Kalamata could fully recover and develop into a modern provincial capital, with all facilities and amenities.

Olivier Touzeau, 23 October 2013

Flag of Kalamata

The flag of Kalamata (photo; Kokkonis website) is blue with a wide red outer border, and parts ot the municipality seal on an orange disk (featuring the Church of the Ypapandi and the date the municipality was taken from the Ottomans, 23 March 1821), the word "Kalamata" in a semi-circle in a fantasy font above the disk, and olive branches with fruits below the disk.
The new municipality uses the same flag as the former one.

Olivier Touzeau, 23 October 2013