Correct! It is an olive to be sure.
But it is also the name of the second largest city in Greece’s Peloponnese; a place that won our hearts this summer.
And Kalamata lends its name to this plump, blackish-purple olive sold in deli’s worldwide. The leaves, like the olives are larger than other varieties. Kalamata olives can’t be picked green. They ripen in late November and must be hand-picked to avoid bruising.
|Early morning in Kalamata, Greece|
Kalamata, with more than 50,000 residents, is a vibrant city offering festivals and musical events in the summer when tourists flock to its beaches and fill the dozens of hotels along the waterfront. It is a market town with a variety of stores, hospitals and medical centers. Its airport – with an increasing number of flights this year – is a gateway to this area of the Peloponnese.
It is just a bit more than a three hour drive from the Athens Airport on a modern-freeway with toll booths and rest stops (with gasoline stations and restaurants) at regular intervals along the way. The freeway circumvents Athens so it is an easy-drive even for those on a first-time road trip.
You can't get lost on this road trip: the freeway from Athens ends at Kalamata. From here travels in The Mani are on two-lane roadways.
|Sidewalk cafes line the pedestrian-friendly city center|
On the other hand those two islands weren’t leveled by an earthquake as was Kalamata in 1986. Of such a magnitude, it killed 20 people and destroyed 10,000 homes. Evidence of the damage is still visible on buildings in the downtown.
Amazingly its 13th Century Ayii Apostoli (Holy Apostles) church in the heart of the city’s historical district required repair but remained standing. It is said, that in 1821 The Greek War of Independence from Turkey was declared at this church.
|Ayii Apostoli Church|
Unlike our visit here last spring when the streets were empty and the town seemed dead, the place was simply hopping with beach- and sun-loving tourists this summer:
|Sun-bonnets and hats are displayed for sale throughout the town|
|Pharae Palace Hotel on Kalamata's waterfront|
|Views from The Loft|
If You Go:
For more information: www.messinia-guide.gr
As always we appreciate the time you spend with us! And thank you so much for recommending TravelnWrite to others and sharing links to the blog on Facebook!! Hope your travels continue to be good ones whether actual or armchair. See you back here again later this week.