castells

Inside a Catalan 'castell'

July 5, 2016 03:12 PM | ACN / Virginia Scherer

A common sight at Catalan festivals, ‘castells’ can be up to 10 human storeys high, with a small child usually being placed on the top. Teams compete to create the most elaborate construction, in a tradition which is believed to date back to the 18th Century. It is one of Catalonia's more unusual spectacles and since being declared a UNESCO element of Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2010, interest in ‘castells’ has grown beyond Catalonia. Many ‘castellers’ groups have performed abroad in cities such as Shanghai, New York, Montreal, London and many others and new groups are even emerging outside of Catalonia. While most observe this tradition from the outside, we got up close to take a peek at the inside.

Europe's tallest building wants to offer 'Castellers' on its top floor

December 7, 2015 04:31 PM | Sara Prim

London's Shard, in the Tower Bridge area, is Europe's tallest building. Its viewpoint, located on the 72nd floor, opened its doors in 2013 and has offered a wide range of events since then: silent discos, winter experiences and in the near future a very ambitious project: a traditional Catalan human tower performance. "The image would be amazing" stated 'The View from the Shard's marketing head Anna Domingo. Although she admits that there is not yet a specific date, she declared to CNA that they are "working very tight" with the Delegation of the Catalan Government to the UK "to promote the Catalan culture also from here". In 2012, Castellers de Vilafranca, one of the most iconic group of Castellers, displayed a tower on the 20th floor of a building located right in front of New York's Empire State building.

‘Castellers’ celebrate 5 years as UNESCO element of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

November 17, 2015 03:47 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Catalan human towers, ‘Castellers’, celebrated Monday their fifth anniversary of their recognition by UNESCO as an element of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The ‘Castellers’ community had been awaiting the committee’s decision for years, as the candidature was first submitted in 2007. “The number of ‘Castellers’ groups has increased by 30% in the last five years, totalling 97 groups all over Catalonia”, stated ‘Castellers’ Groups Coordination president Maria Cortès, “our goal is not to reach 100 groups, but to make higher, stronger and safer ‘castells’ each time”. Cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’s top member, Raül Romeva, also attended the event, as he is also a member of a group of Castellers. “Castellers teach us that things must be done well, in an organised way and to add to each other, as everybody has their role” he declared in an interview, probably in reference to the negotiations between pro-independence forces ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP.

Catalan human towers to be built in 7 European capitals for self-determination

April 29, 2014 05:22 PM | ACN

On 8th of June, thousands of Catalans will simultaneously build their traditional human towers – called castells – in Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Lisbon, London, Paris and Barcelona, carrying a banner reading "Catalans want to vote". This festive demonstration aims to raise international awareness about the aspiration shared by more than 75% of Catalonia's population: to be able to hold a self-determination vote to decide on its independence from Spain. The project 'Catalans want to vote – Human towers for democracy' is a privately-funded initiative organised by the civil society organisation Òmnium Cultural. In fact, this Tuesday it was announced that the project has reached its objective of raising 120,000 euros through Verkami's crowd-funding web site. The money will be used to pay for the trip costs of the castellers, those building the human towers (called castells).

Catalan Castells are safer than ever with only 2.5% of the towers collapsing in 2013

August 28, 2013 06:20 PM | Violeta Gumà, Tania Tàpia and Julian Scully

The medical director of the Coordinadora de Colles Castelleres de Catalunya (the coordinating committee of the human towers of Catalonia – CCCC), Daniel Castillo, has announced that the tradition is just as dangerous as practicing any other sport. Two weeks ago, a casteller (Castell participant) was seriously injured in Barcelona during the construction of a Castell. However, in an interview with the CNA, Castillo highlighted how that historical tradition is, in fact, becoming safer with only 2.5% of the 6,500 Castells of 2013 collapsing. “During the 1990s about 7% of Castells collapsed”, he noted. Castells is a tradition unique to Catalonia and in 2010 was declared a UNESCO element of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

‘The Human Tower’, a story of passion and tradition

June 9, 2012 01:12 AM | Javier Domínguez

How can you reach out and touch the sky with your fingers? Is it better alone or together with others? Ram Devinevi and Cano Rojas give a clear answer to this question in their documentary which shows how three different cultures -the Catalan, the Indian and the Chilean- all with a common aim: to build the highest human constructions. A formidable challenge which can only be achieved thanks to the huge effort of three hundred bodies climbing and the technical guidelines of an experienced coach.

Manuel Castells awarded the Holberg Prize, considered Sociology’s Nobel

June 7, 2012 11:46 PM | CNA

The Barcelona-raised sociologist Manuel Castells has received the 2012 Holberg International Memorial Prize in Bergen, Norway. This award is considered to be the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in the field of sociology. The jury considered his book ‘Communication Power’ to be “essential for a new understanding of politics”. Castells holds the Wallis Annenberg Chair at the University of Southern California, he is Research Professor at Catalonia’s distance-learning university (UOC) and Professor Emeritus at the University of California (Berkeley).