Kalamaria in Thessaloniki
One of the most beautiful parts of Thessaloniki, Kalamaria, was named after our princess Mara Brankovic, daughter of despot Djuradj Brankovic and Byzantine princess Irina Kantakuzin.
Mara among the ordinary people was highly respected, not only because of her status and wealth, but also as a very capable, generous and sensitive to the people, and also a very beautiful woman. That is how the part of the Aegean coast that Mara liked the most (between Thessaloniki and Kassandra) became known as Kalamaria among the people in the Middle age, and today the most beautiful part of Thessaloniki bears this name. This ancient Greek word has the meaning Beautiful Maria, and in the modern Greek it means Good Maria.
Later, Mara Brankovic became one of the wife of Sultan Murad II and Mehmed II the Conqueror’s stepmother. She was born in 1416 in Vucitrn in Kosovo.
Mara, as Sultan, generously helped monasteries and churches, both in Serbia and in Greece, especially on Holy Mountain (Athos). After the death of Murat II, she got permission to leave the Ottoman court and she was settled down in Jezevo place, nearby of today’s city of Serres. On the coast, that is named after her, nearby today’s Sozopol city, once there was a metoh of the monastery Hilandar, which Mara had often visited and donated.
Kalamaria is today one of the most beautiful parts of the city. Here lives about 100,000 inhabitants. It has a very nice marina, decorated streets, beautiful promenade and a small square, park by the sea, and is known for its many restaurants and clubs.