Kalamariá (Greek: Καλαμαριά) is a municipality (Borough) of the Thessaloniki Urban Area, located about 7 km southeast of downtown Thessaloniki. It is the second largest municipality (with a population of 87,255 as of 2001) of the Thessaloniki Urban Area as well as one of the largest in Greece, with a population increase of 8% since the 1991 census.
The area was first settled by humans in prehistoric times, and remains from that settlement have been found around the Karabournaki cape.
The name Kalamaria was first used in 1083 to denote the area southeast of Thessaloniki, including but not limited to the area of the present-day municipality. During the Byzantine and the Ottoman periods, the area was mostly uninhabited, except for a few fishing lodges.
View of downtown Thessaloniki from Karabournaki
The first settlement was created in the early 1920s to house refugees from the Greek diaspora in Georgia and Asia Minor, who fled or were forcibly sent to Greece as a result of the Greco-Turkish War. As many as 100,000 refugees relocated to Thessaloniki, primarily to the city's suburbs. Refugees of Pontic descent mainly relocated in Kalamaria, and the municipality's population is predominantly of Pontic descent to this day.
Kalamaria has seen substantial recent growth as part of a population shift from rural and urban areas to suburban areas, particularly to those east of Thessaloniki. Between the 1981 and 2001 censuses, the population of Kalamaria grew by about 36,000 (or, 69%). Up until 1943 Kalamaria was part of the Municipality of Thessaloniki. On 1st of January 1943 it became an independent administrative unity.
Kalamaria had a population of 14,000 residents as recorded by an inventory in 1947, but this has considerably increased, as shown by the Greek census of 2001 where Kalamaria had a total of 87,255 residents. Kalamaria has the second highest population in the Council of the Town Planning Group of Thessaloniki but also of Northern Greece and ninth in all of Greece.
Though it was originally separated from the main City of Thessaloniki, the municipality has grown so much in the post-war period that the older physical boundaries are virtually non-existent. Nowadays, the border between the two municipalities exists purely for administrative purposes.
The total area of the Municipality of Kalamaria covers 7,200 acres (29 km2). About two thirds of the perimeter are 6.5 km of coastline. The municipality is separated into 10 geographical districts, which have been given names reminiscent of the refugees' former homelands.
Modern buildings in Kalamaria suburb
Nea Krini (Greek: "Νέα Κρήνη")
Nea Trapezounta (Greek: "Νέα Τραπεζούντα")
Karabournaki (Greek: "Καραμπουρνάκι")
Kouri (Greek: "Κουρί")
Katirli (Greek: "Κατιρλί")
Aretsou (Greek: "Αρετσού")
Ag. Ioannis (Greek: "Άγιος Ιωάννης")
Vyzantio (Greek: "Βυζάντιο")
Ag. Pantelimonas (Greek: "Άγιος Παντελεήμωνας")
Navarchos Votsis (in honour of Admiral Nikolaos Votsis) (Greek: "Νάβαρχος Βότσης")
Finikas (Fenekas in local language) (Greek: "Φοίνικας")
Taki Ekonomidi Avenue in Kalamaria
Kalamaria has 14 sporting teams including the famous Apollon Kalamarias.
Main article: List of twin towns and sister cities in Greece
Twin towns — Sister cities
Kalamaria is twinned with:
Albania Saranda, Albania
Bulgaria Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria
Cyprus Paphos, Cyprus
United States Clearwater, Florida, United States
Slovakia Liptovský Mikuláš, Slovakia
The notable music composer, Stavros Koujioumtzis (1932-2005), was a resident of Kalamaria during the last years of his life. He was buried at Kalamaria's municipal cemetery.
One of the most famous natives of Kalamaria is the popular actor and comedian Harry Klynn (originally Vassilis Triantafylides) (born 1940). Klynn was candidate for Mayor of Kalamaria at the local elections of 2006.
The main roads that feed into the municipality are those of Konstantinos Karamanlis Avenue (formerly Nea Egnatia) to the east (which links with the ΕΟ67, (the Thessaloniki-Chalkidiki motorway), Taki Ekonomidi Avenue (which links the popular district of Nea Krini with Thessaloniki's city center), Megalou Alexandrou Avenue - the biggest avenue in Thessaloniki and Georgikis Sxolis Highway, which provides the main access from Kalamaria to the airport and the outer south-eastern suburbs of Thessaloniki. Other main road links exist with Thermi, while the southeast end of the Thessaloniki ring road (which bypasses the Thessaloniki Urban Area) lies to the southeast of Kalamaria.
The first Mobility Centre in Greece started functioning in Kalamaria (June 2008).
Municipalities of the Thessaloniki Prefecture
Agios Athanasios | Agios Georgios | Agios Pavlos | Ampelokipoi | Apollonia | Arethousa | Assiros | Axios | Chalastra | Chalkidona | Chortiatis | Echedoros | Efkarpia | Egnatia | Eleftherio-Kordelio | Epanomi | Evosmos | Kalamaria | Kallindoia | Kallithea | Koroneia | Koufalia | Lachanas | Lagkadas | Madytos | Menemeni | Michaniona | Mikra | Mygdonia | Neapoli | Oraiokastro | Panorama | Pefka | Polichni | Pylaia | Rentina | Sochos | Stavroupoli | Sykies | Thermaikos | Thermi | Thessaloniki | Triandria | Vasilika | Vertiskos
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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