Castellers de Vilafranca human tower group defies gravity and rain in Lisbon

'Colla' president: "We like to show Catalan culture to the world"

The Castellers de Vilafranca human tower group in Lisbon
The Castellers de Vilafranca human tower group in Lisbon / Jordi Pujolar
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

April 21, 2023 07:45 PM

April 22, 2023 12:12 PM

The Castellers de Vilafranca, a human tower group from the Penedès wine region south of Barcelona, wowed onlookers in Lisbon on Friday with gravity and rain-defying 'castells'.

The first time the 'colla' is back in the country since 1982, their performance in Lisbon is the first stop on a 3-day tour of the Portuguese capital and the Alentejo region.

The 150 members of the 'colla' known as 'els Verds' ('the greens'), however, were only able to build two towers in the square in front of the Lisbon city hall, Praça do Município, before moving the show inside the local government building due to the rain. 

"We like to build human towers and we like to show Catalan culture to the world," Carles Mata, the president of the Castellers de Vilafranca human tower group, told the Catalan News Agency (ACN).

"We're also here in Portugal to tell people about the legend of Sant Jordi and what it means to us," he added, explaining that they were excited as this is the group's first trip abroad since 2019, before the pandemic. 

Rui Serra, the Catalan government delegate to Portugal, was also present among the many locals and tourists who enjoyed the performance. 

"Culture builds bridges between people so we're very happy to be able to show Portugal this treasure of Catalan culture," Serra said.

Filling the Sink

Not for the faint-hearted, castells are human towers that can reach up to 10 stories high – that's 10 groups of people stacked on top of each other!

Press play below to listen to our podcast episode from June 2022 or subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or Spotify.