Although the region is strongly influenced by its medieval period, as evidenced by the many castles and other monuments from that era, it has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Today, there is a large contemporary urban centre with Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto and Braga as the main cities,
Braganca, a port city and important centre of Marrano life, as well as the medieval town of Freixo and the ancient Vila Real. Symbolising the diversity of Jewish life and their civic involvement in this region of Portugal, the active participation of Jews in numerous fields such as crafts in Vila Nova de Foz Coa, fishing in Viana do Castelo, the renowned doctors of Lamego, as well as the businessmen of the Isidro family in Torre de Moncorvo. The Kadoorie synagogue in Porto, where there is also a Jewish museum, is a fine example of this ancient Portuguese link.