Heraklion is the largest urban centre in Crete, the capital of the region and the economic centre of the island. The first European civilization, the Minoan civilization, flourished on this land 5000 years ago. Currently the population of the municipality of Heraklion is approximately 150.000 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. During the last 20 years the city has made also a remarkable progress in the academic and technological fields.