Vinça, Gateway to the Baronnie
Vinça is situated near the “Via Confluentana”, the ancient Roman road which linked the Mediteranean coast to the highlands of Cerdagne and Capcir. Vinça is first mentioned “Castrum Vincanum” in a latin text of 939 AD and agin as “Vincianum”in 950AD.
The castle of Joch was the residence of the Viscount of Conflent and the headquarters of the Barony of Joch which included Vinça and the neighbouring villages.
The church of Saint Julien and Sainte Baselisse is mentioned for the first time in 1043. Around the church in an area 30 feet wide, there was a collection of store rooms, la cellera, which became the original nucleus of the village and provided storage for crops as well as shelter for the inhabitants of the neighbourhood during time of violence and war.
In 1172 during the reign of Alphonse the Chaste, Count of Barcelona and king of Aragon, Vinça which up until then, had been possession of the Counts of Cerdagne, became a royal city. In 1245 outer walls were built and four gates provided entry to the city .Two of these are still intact and well maintained, as is a good section of the original ramparts.
In the heart of lower Conflent.
In the course of time the village grew to include new boroughs : ”Le Puig”, ”le Barri del camp”, ”le carrer Nou” (the new road), then in the XIXth century the fairground, and at the beginning of the XXth century the buildings which now house the Town Hall, the Post Office, the former tax office were constructed (plus the public bath).
The public baths of Nossa : Thanks to the sulphur springs on the river the “bains de Nossa“ were built between 1810-1822. This splendid establishment flourished until 1932 and was demolished when the new dam was built and a new bridge constructed over the river Têt in the 1960’s.
The plain that extends around Vinça is watered by the river Têt and the Lentilla ,both provide vital irrigation for the cultivation of the many fruit trees :peaches, apricots ,cherries and apples which have been essential to the economy of the community .
At the beginning the the XXth century a culture of wine production was developed in lower Conflent and in 1929 the cooperative cellar was built.This enabled the wine producers to increase the value of their creations .Today ,the various types of grapes have allowed the evolution of wines classified as AOP” Côtes du Roussillon “and IGP “Côtes Catalanes”
Heritage :Vinça is well provided with beamed houses , oratories , fountains , an ancient hospice the Carmelite convent and the church which is home to a wealth of baroque art as well as its celebrated organ built by JP Cavaillé in 1765,all of whic testify to the rich heritage of Vinça .
The village includes the hamlet of Sahorle and its church dedicated to Saint Marie Madeleine .