Ajuntament de Tortosa
Ajuntament de Tortosa


The village

The earliest signs of settlements in the area around Vinallop found to date are the Neolithic burial sites found in Mas de Xíes, the date of which is estimated to be around the middle of the fifth millennium B.C. Remains have also been discovered from the Early Copper and Bronze Age at the Cova Cervereta cave in the Barranc de Roé ravine, where a small cave with several burial sites has been partially excavated.

However, the best-known archaeological remains in Vinallop are located in the Pla de les Sitges, known since ancient times due to the large number of silos cut into the rock, perhaps for storing cereal. The site is thought to date back to the Iberian period. From the Roman era, some burial sites have also been identified in the same area, with a gravestone found along the route to Mianes dedicated to Caius Porcius Seranus, which is now kept at the Tortosa Municipal Museum.

During the Islamic period, the village was given the name of Vinallop (perhaps, Ibn Lubb meaning “Son of Lubb” or ‘Son of the Wolf’) and, in fact, there have been findings of Andalusian pottery in a number of places, such as in the Barranc de Pasqualet ravine, indicating the existence of a dispersed rural settlement during this period, with a few almunias (Arabic farmsteads). In this period, the tower located next to the Camí de Mingana may have been built, as it is now surrounded by remains of buildings from around the same time.

From the time of the Christian conquest of the city of Tortosa onwards (mid-12th Century), there are documented references to the village using the Latinized name (Abinalop). The information that these records give us indicates the agricultural use of the land in the region, with ditches (possibly for irrigation or to drain off excess water) and a highly dispersed population, predominantly settled around the lower part of the terrain, not far from the Ebre river.

In the Early Middle Ages, a defensive tower was probably built to protect the lands of the Jordà family, an extremely powerful noble dynasty in Tortosa in the modern era. No longer in existence, this tower may have been built to surveil movement along the road that ran from Tortosa to Amposta.

Although Vinallop is located at a strategic point of passage, as the roads that connected Tortosa with Amposta and Valencia ran through the area, there was no stable and concentrated settlement there until there was a construction project in the mid-19th Century to build a railway station near to where the Placeta de l’Església now stands.

Despite the relative failure of this town planning project, from this point onwards, a small urban centre started to develop around the parish church, dedicated to the Divina Pastora (Divine Shepherdess). Around the same time, the construction of the canal to the right of the river Ebre, initiated in the 1860s, also led to an increase in the population in the areas within the irrigation range of the canal, with people predominantly coming from the drylands to the north of the modern-day county of Montsià (Santa Bàrbara, La Galera, etc.). This demographic rise led to the creation of a Republican centre, the date of which is unknown but is estimated to date back to the early 20th Century, which was the hub of the leisure activities of a large part of the population during this period. In the Post-War period, the building in which the centre was based was turned into a school before it was pulled down to provide the site for the current school building.

In the 1930s, another small urban centre started to be consolidated around the high ground, up the coast, at a stop-off point for travellers, located next to the road to Ulldecona and Valencia.

During the Civil War between 1936 and 1939 , Vinallop regained its strategic status as it was on the battlefront for a period of nine months (April 1938-January 1939). Indications of this situation can be found in the trenches near to the old restaurant La Piràmide.

The crisis in traditional farming that started at the end of the 1960s triggered a clear decline in the number of inhabitants, who were forced to move away, mainly to the city of Tortosa, in search of employment.

At the start of the 1970s, there was a project to build a large industrial estate, which eventually never came to fruition. It was intended to specialize in the chemical industry, which would have meant a significant change in the way of life of the local people and the urban evolution of the village.

Recently, the construction of new housing, both in rural areas and the higher ground, give cause for optimism with respect to a certain level of repopulation in the near future, although it remains Tortosa’s least populated parish.