World’s largest Castell (tower of people) reaches more than 10 tiers

Image - Castells: David Ortega/shutterstock Baglietto

After a two year delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the competition for the world’s largest Castell (tower of people) has returned to Tarragona in Southern Catalonia, a quintessentially Catalan tradition that has been sorely missed. 

Castells originated at the end of the 18th century in this area of Southern Catalonia, in the town of Valls. They are an age old tradition which involves constructing an impressively tall human tower, derived from the popular dance ‘Ball de Valencians’. The towers themselves were declared an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2010, according to Catalan News. 

This weekend’s competition began with the gathering of many small groups in the small town of Torredembarra to kick off the entertainment. Today saw the best 12 Castellers groups compete against one another today, after the 17 best second-tier Castellers groups competed yesterday. 

Towers of ten tiers were constructed by the Castellers de Vilafranca, a crowd favourite participant in the impressive human-building competition. Nicknamed ‘The Verds’, they were able to structure a tower with three people in each of the ten tiers, known as a ‘tres de deu’. 

The other groups to watch in the competition were the Colla Vella and Colla Jove. Whilst the latter managed to maintain first place for three out of the five rounds of the competition, Colla Vella’s victory looked unlikely from the early afternoon. 

Castellers group Minyons de Terrassa refused to participate in the competition as an act of defiance against the commercialisation of the age-old tradition as attendees of thos Castells competition have to purchase tickets to see the impressive structures take shape. In other Castells competitions throughout the region, the towers are constructed as an entertaining aspect of Catalonian festivals and are constructed in the street, free for anyone to observe and admire. 


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Image - Annie Dabb
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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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