Once every two years in Spain, some few thousand men, women, and even children climb on each other’s shoulders to create the tallest and the strongest human tower in the history of mankind.
Concurs de Castells is one of the most important cultural traditions in Catalonia for more than 200 years and reckoned as the “most important Human Tower Competition” in the world, recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It takes place every other October in the city of Tarragona, with the participation of hundreds of participants (called castellers) forming human towers up to 10 stories high.
Like a dance, building a human tower requires força, equilibri, valor i seny (strength, balance, courage and common sense). The strongest, heaviest men make up the foundation, pooling together strength to form the base of the tower and a surrounding safety net in case a casteller falls. As the tower grows, castellers shrink in size, until the smallest and lightest remain. A child (the enxaneta) usually on the top of a castell wears a helmet for safety.
More than 20,000 spectators attend the Concurs de Castells each year. Besides the human towers, the festival features a parade of dance, music, concerts, fireworks, and street performances.