Patras is Greece's third biggest city (population: 170 thousand). This port city has often been called Greece's Gate to the West. But in the age of globalization this is no longer true: In fact, Patras has become the country's gate to the whole world.

Patras has a continued history which is four millennia long (in numbers: 4000 years...). From this history, a lot is still to be seen. There are some Roman buildings left, as well as remains from many other historic periods. In Patras, there is Greece's biggest church - the Orthodox cathedral of Agios Andreas, which is also the largest and most monumental Byzantine church in the whole of South-Eastern Europe. The city's topographic look is remarkable.

It certainly has that typical Mediterranean combination of a city sandwiched between a beach on the side and mountains on the other, but in fact, Patras goes up, or at least a part of it: There is the lower town and then there is the upper town, and this creates a quite unique atmosphere. While the upper gives you the best panoramic views, the lower town is just by the beach and the sea promenade.

Patras is a city of culture (having been Europe's Cultural Capital in 2006). The Patras Carnival with its stunning parades is no less vibrant than that in Rio de Janeiro - but instead of Samba you will hear heart-warming Greek tunes with their typically Oriental element. But tradition is not all Patras has to offer.

Its magnificent indie rock scene is famous and has been influential in many ways for decades now. Raining Pleasure, that famous English-language indie band, comes from Patras, to give just the most striking example. The city has a multitude of rock bands, professional and amateur - and not only for music agents is there still a lot to discover in the discos, clubs - and warehouses of Patras.

Traditionally of course, trade and manufacturing used to be the city's main economic leg. But times are changing. Patras has turned into a high-tech center - or something that people call the Greek Silicon Valley.

The city has an appealing mixture of state institutions (like the Computer Technology Institute and the Industrial Systems Institute) and innovative private businesses in a very open market environment, working hand in hand with each other.

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