Human Towers in Tarragona

Building a successful tower in the final Credit: Tarragona Tourism

One of the better known quirks of Catalonian human nature is that of the building of human towers across the region.

Probably the most famous is that which takes place in Tarragona which claims to be the biggest and best.

The phrase “room for a little one “ really rings true as four local teams as well as visiting groups known as Colles compete to see how high and sturdy their tower can be and a lot is down to weight and size.

World’s biggest human tower

Every two years Tarragona hosts what it refers to as the world’s biggest human tower (Castellar) building competition which can surpass 15 metres in height.

The towers are made of people standing on each other’s shoulders and usually, a small child climbs last to reach the tip of the sometimes shaking  tower and the tradition in Catalonia goes back to the 18th Century.

Covid stopped the 2020 event but it did take place in 2022 and now it returns to Tarragona with practices starting on June 24 around the streets of the city and the grand finale being held in the Tarraco Arena (the old bullfighting ring) on October 6.

Huge numbers of spectators fill the bullring as they watch the different teams compete with the heaviest and strongest forming the base and others who are lighter climbing on top but there are no safety nets and it’s not without danger.

Children wear safety helmets as their only protection

Even the children who wear safety helmets could fall and sometimes it is the dismounting that can be more dangerous than building the tower.

Practise makes perfect

There are four requirements to building a great tower, strength, balance, bravery and wisdom plus perhaps no fear of heights!

Apart from being an exciting and potentially dangerous ‘spectator sport’, the Castells  have been awarded the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity designation.

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page