Located in the junction of the 3 continents of Europe, Asia and Africa, Kalamata (in Greek it means beautiful eyes) is the capital city of Mycenae Province in Peloponnesian Autonomous Region of Greece. With a population of 61,373 and covering an area of 253.2 square kilometers, the city has 14 towns and villages under its jurisdiction. The city has complete infrastructures, and the only airport of Peloponnesus is in Kalamata with regular flights to Athens. The largest port of the region is also here.
In ancient times Kalamata was called Mycenae. Built in the 7th century BC, it has a history of more than 2,700 years. From 395 to 1204 AD, it was always the important fortress of the Byzantine Empire.
Kalamata is abundant in historical and cultural heritages, the famous ones include Castle of the Villehardouins, the Church of Ypapanti, the Municipal Art Gallery, Archaeological Museum of Messenia as well as Historical and Folklore Museum, etc. There are regular cultural events in the city including many dramas and operas shown in the amphitheatre of the castle. The Dance Festival is world famous and attracts the participation of dancing troupes from all parts of the world every year.
The economy of Kalamata plays an important role in the national economy of Greece. The economy relies heavily on traditional industries and agriculture, exporting to other countries its olive oil, olives and raisins. The main agricultural products such as rice, apple and tomato are mostly exported to Europe and the Americas. Major industries are silk, flour processing, wine brewing and tobacco, with one of the most famous tobacco factory, Karelia Tobacco Co. Inc., business is very active in this area.
Education is well developed in Kalamata, Peloponnesus University has a campus in Kalamata. Every year students from all over the country come to study in Kalamata.
Kalamata established sister-city relationship with Xi’an on September 17, 2009.
[Source:Foreign Affairs and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Xi’an City]