Castle of Kalamata

The castle of Kalamata dominates in the northwestern part of the city at a low rocky hill above the river Nedontas.

Its foundation dates back to the Byzantine period, but its current form is based on great reconstruction by the franc prince and founder of the principality of Achaia , Geoffrey Villehardouin, in the early 13th century . Modifications on the castle of Kalamata were made ​​by the Venetians who occupied the city since 1685 until 1715 proved by an embossed wall of Leon of Saint Mark above the entrance door.

At the steepest point of the top of the hill, there is a tower – shelter with vaulted water reservoir where they have found ruins of a temple. Today on the hill there are ruins of these constructions. An inner fortification wall surrounds the top of the hill and there is a second one, wider.

During the 18th century the castle of Kalamata loses its strategic importance, while in the early 19th century it has already fallen into neglect. In 1825  the army of Ibrahim made a major disaster. Its transformation to a copse is associated with the novelist Zacharias Papantoniou, who was Prefect of Messinia in the early 20th century.

In the Castle of Kalamata there are findings showing that the city of ancient Fares existed in this location. In the 6th century AD a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary “Kalomata” was built in its place. It was so named because the icon of the Virgin had beautiful black eyes. For this reason it is said that the area took the name, Kalamata.

Because of the earthquake of 1986 ​​many parts of the castle of Kalamata were characterized as dangerous, so the center is no longer visited. Visitors can wander only around inside the castle and enjoy lovely view over the historic center of Kalamata. The International Dance Festival takes place on the southern end of the castle.

The widely read novel written by Angelos Terzakis, “Princess Isabeau” unfolds in the Castle of Kalamata.