Capital and chief port of the prefecture is the much sung Kalamata, the land of the Kalamatianos dance and the silk kerchief. Of succulent black olives, honeyed figs and the sesame-covered sweet called pastelli. The town is dominated by the 13th century castle above it built by Geoffrey de Villehardouin. On the north side of the citadel there is a small Byzantine church, dedicated to the Virgin of Kalomata (of the good eye), from which the town may have acquired its name.
From the castle you can survey the expanse of sea below with its sandy and pebbly shores or turn your gaze upon the deep green plain, the 'happy land' of the ancients.
The old city is spread out underneath the castle. This is where the Byzantine church of the Virgin Ypapanti and the convent of the Kalograies, where the nuns weave the famous Kalamata silk, are situated.
There are many churches in town, the oldest being the historic church of Aghii Apostoli (13th c.), where the Greek Revolution against the Turks was formally declared on March 23, 1821. Kalamata has an archaeological and folklore museum, a fine arts museum and a library containing 60.000 volumes.
Every summer cultural events like concerts and plays put on by the Kalamata theater are held in the amphitheatre of the castle. In the evening, the town comes alive, especially along the waterfront which is lined with tavernas, seafood restaurants and rotisseries serving local dishes and drinks, fresh fish, roast suckling pig and chicken, sausages, cheese, olives, retsina and raki.