A castell (Catalan pronunciation: [kas-tel]) is a human tower built traditionally in festivals at many locations within Catalonia. At these festivals, several “colles castelleres” or teams often succeed in building and dismantling a tower’s structure. On November 16, 2010, castells were declared by UNESCO to be amongst the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The little kid toppling the castell is the ‘enxaneta’. A castell is considered a success when stages of its assembling and disassembling, can be done in complete succession. The assembly is complete once all castellers have climbed into their designated places, and the enxaneta climbs into place at the top and raises one hand with four fingers erect, in a gesture said to symbolize the stripes of the Catalan flag. The enxaneta then climbs down the other side of the castell, after which the remaining levels of castellers descend in highest-to-lowest order until all have reached safety.
In the city of Tarragona, castellers gather every two years to see who can build the highest, most intricate human castles. This Catalan tradition requires astonishing strength, finesse, and balance. Not to mention courage.
How to get there from Barcelona
Video: © Mike Randolph