Kalamata is the second most populous city of the Peloponnese peninsula, after Patras, in southern Greece and the largest city of the homonymous administrative region. The capital and chief port of the Messenia regional unit, it lies along the Nedon River at the head of the Messenian Gulf. Kalamata is renowned as the land of the Kalamatianos dance and Kalamata olives.The history of Kalamata begins with Homer, who mentions Pharai an ancient city built more or less where the Kalamata Castle stands today. It was believed that during ancient times the area that the city presently occupies was covered by the sea, but the proto-Greek and archaic period remains (Poseidon temple) that were unearthed at Akovitika region prove the opposite.Pharai was rather unimportant in antiquity, and the site continued in obscurity until middle Byzantine times. Kalamata is first mentioned in the 10th-century Life of St. Nikon the Metanoeite, and experienced a period of prosperity in the 11th–12th centuries, as attested by the five surviving churches built in this period, including the Church of the Holy Apostles, as well as the comments of the Arab geographer al-Idrisi, who calls it a "large and populous" town
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