Heraklion is the largest urban centre in Crete, the capital of the region and the economic centre of the island. The first European civilisation, the Minoan civilisation, flourished on this land 5000 years ago.The conquering of Constantinopole by the Franks in 1204, left Crete under the sovereignty of the Venetians until 1669. During this period, Heraklion experienced significant cultural growth and became the capital of the ''Regno di Candia''. However, all this cultural and spiritual growth came to a sudden end in 1669 with the invasion of Crete by the Turks. Crete became autonomous in 1897, to be united with Greece in 1913.
The cultural heritage of the city of Heraklion offers a variety of forms of modern entertainment. Every year, the city, as well as numerous villages in the surrounding area, organize cultural events such as theatrical performances, art exhibitions, musical nights and festivals which attract a lot of people, locals and visitors alike.For those inclined to modern entertainment and clubbing, the city offers ample opportunities for night life.
Heraklion is a city with one foot rooted in the past, the other stepping into the future. Currently the population of Heraklion is approximately 150000 people. It is a very dynamic and cosmopolitan town, particularly during the summer period when thousands of visitors can be seen shopping in the market or visiting the museums and other places of interest. Today Heraklion is the top choice for tourist destinations in the Mediterranean.
The unique natural beauty favours the development of alternative forms of tourism and provides a combination of mountain and sea sports.
The city is also the commercial and scientific centre of the island. It has a strategic geopolitical position in the southeast basin of the Mediterranean Sea connecting three continents and many different cultures.
During the last 20 years the city has made remarkable progress in the academic and technological fields.
The dynamic and imaginative combination of natural beauty, climate, strategic position, cultural heritage and scientific background has created an appropriate environment to add value to the broader entrepreneurial activity in the region and stimulate the local economy.