The Castle of Kalamata is located in the northwestern part of the city, on a low rocky hill above the Nedon river. Its foundation dates back to the Byzantine period. However, its current form is due to a major reconstruction by the Frankish prince and founder of the principality of Achaia, Godefroid I' Villeardouine, at the beginning of the 13th century. The castle was a hereditary fiefdom of the Villeardouine family from 1205 to 1322, when the last descendant of the Maho family of Aino lost all hereditary and sovereign rights to the hegemony of Achaia.
During the 6th century AD, on the ancient ruins of the palaces of the city of Farai, the Christians built a church where there was an icon of the Virgin Mary with black, beautiful, "good" eyes. It was the so-called Virgin Mary "Kalomata", which later became "Kalamata", giving the name to the city of Farai. In fact, the city is mentioned in the "Chronicle of Moreas" with this name.
As mentioned above, during the Frankish occupation, the castle was reconstructed, while new fortifications were added. Godfrey I Villeardouin made it his residence and seat of the Barony of Kalamae. During the 15th century, the castle passed into the hands of the Ottomans and from 1685 to 1715 to the Venetians, who maintained the existing fortifications while adding new ones. In 1715, the castle was recaptured by Dalmat Agas on behalf of the Turks. In 1825 the castle was besieged by Ibrahim. He caused extensive damage to it, and for this reason, it lost its strategic importance. Eventually, at the beginning of the 19th century, it was abandoned.
During the Second World War, the castle area served as a camp for the Italian forces, who installed anti-aircraft guns and built some fortifications. It is also worth mentioning that the formation of the castle in a small forest is associated with writer Zacharias Papantoniou, who was the prefect of Messenia at the beginning of the 20th century.
Kalamata Castle is a typical example of the castles constructed by the Franks all over Messenia to consolidate their regional dominance. At the steepest point of the castle (at the top of the hill), a shelter tower with a vaulted water tank, where the remains of a temple have also been identified, rises. An inner fortified enclosure surrounds the top of the hill, while a second enclosure protects a larger area. The castle’s walls are vertical and follow the natural formation of the ground, while their ramparts are not preserved. Above the entrance door, the built-in relief of the Lion of Saint Mark stands out, testifying to the Venetian interventions.
In 1950, a small theatre (about 700 seats) was built at the southern end of the castle, which during the summer months, hosts dance, music and theatre performances, as well as performances of the "Kalamata International Dance Festival". Finally, the widely read novel by Aggelos Terzakis, "Princess Izabo", unfolds in the Kalamata Castle.