You’re bound to have heard of the ‘castellers‘ at some point, a Catalan tradition thought to have originated from the 18th century in the Campo de Tarragona region. As well as the traditional Valencian dance from the 15th century performed in the southern Ebro region, the locals from Tarragona built these tall, creative human towers which, today, have become a traditional symbol of Catalonia.
If you’re visiting Barcelona and you would like to experience something as incredible as a day of ‘castellers’, then you must check out World Experience. Helicopter flights, horse riding around Montserrat, wine sampling in Penedés, sailing boat trips and much more. Experience Barcelona and its traditions to the max!
Catalan human tower
In order to understand the symbolism of these Catalan human towers, you must first understand the ‘casteller‘ concept. A ‘casteller’ is a member of a ‘castellera’ group which forms the ‘castells’ (towers). In fact, these so-called ‘castells’ are human towers and have World Heritage status.
These are formed by people of all ages, regardless of their height or weight. When making the human tower, the participants are distributed according to their physical characteristics, in order to facilitate the construction and maintenance of the tower. The ‘castellers’ train every month of the year in their groups, in order to be ready to form part of the towers.
How are Catalan human towers formed?
To form a tall and well-balanced tower, all its component parts need to be divided up correctly. First, we need the ‘piña‘ (cone), the part which acts as the tower’s support. On top of the cone we have the ‘tronco’ (trunk), the central structure, formed by the ‘castellers’ who cannot be seen at first view as they are hidden inside the tower. At the highest point, we have the ‘pomo‘ (canopy), which completes the trunk and is the final part of the tower. When the last person (called ‘enxaneta‘) raises their arms, it means the tower has been successfully completed.
What do you need to make the highest human tower?
As the ‘castellers’ themselves say, you need four characteristics to be a good ‘casteller’: strength, balance, bravery and wisdom. Strength; some sturdy citizens are needed to support the weight of the tower. Balance: it’s essential to be able to keep your balance in order to support yourself and everyone else. Bravery: this defines the personality of any ‘casteller’, both to support the tower and to climb up it, and finally wisdom: essential for building the tower to such heights.
Human towers in Barcelona
Where to see human towers in Barcelona is something we will all have asked at some point. Normally, it’s believed that ‘castellers’ only take place in towns or in Barcelona’s suburbs, but in reality, it’s very different. What’s for sure is that Barcelona has may different ‘casteller’ groups, and that, at various times of the year, you can see them in the city.
At World Experience, we know that the ‘castellers’ are one of the main tourist attractions in Catalonia, and as a visitor of this wonderful city, you won’t want to miss out on this Catalan tradition. You can take a look at our ‘casteller’ workshops, so that you can try out this traditional Catalan cultural experience for yourself.