Due to its vantage location, Pen developed as a port city with trade links as far as Egypt. It had a very prosperous marketplace where exchange of goods to and from Deccan took place.
It gained prominence in ancient times due to vantage location on trade routes to Deccan, proximity to both Mumbai & Pune and its central position in the Raigad District. It lies on the bank of Bhogavati creek.
Pen is very famous for its Ganesh Idols which are used widely for the "Ganesh Festival". Many of Ganesh Idols in Mumbai are brought from Pen. There are multiple lanes (termed as "Ali") which consist only of such Idol Making craftsmen. Going through these lanes one can see the whole process of developing Ganesh Idols. Number of Ganesh Idols are now even exported to the Marathi population in US.
Women in Pen are occupied in the domestic business of preparing pohe (flattened rice)and papad.
Due to unique geological features of Western part of Pen County (Vashi Subdivision), Pen has been for centuries hub of salt making industry dominated by koli community.
During the period of shilahar kings, many temples of goddesses were built, including Jagdumba of Vashi. In the period of Chalukyas, grand temples of shiva, like rameshwar(रामेश्वर), pataneshwar(पाटणेश्वर), goteshwar(गोटेश्वर) and vyaghreshwar(व्याघ्रेश्वर)were constructed