Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Human Tower Building at Castells Competition in Tarragona

The Tarragona Human Tower Competition is an annual sporting event carried out by the best teams in the country and it is held every two years in Tarragona, a city in Spain's Catalonia region about 50 miles southwest of Barcelona. Nearly 6000 spectators gathered at an old bull ring in Tarragona on the first weekend of October over the weekend for its annual castells competition, where teams made of up to hundreds of people collaborate to build human towers. Leading teams compete against each other for the first place in different categories where towers are scored on difficulty.

Building human towers, or castells, is an old Catalan tradition dating back over two hundred years. Each castell (a Catalan word for castle) is built by a team, called a colla, consisting of between 75 to 500 men and women. Young and light members form the top of a tower while heavier members form the base. Music plays as a team erects its tower, usually between six and ten levels high.

The event is popular with both locals and tourists and has been declared part of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

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Members of the Colla 'Caprogossos de Mataro' climb up as they construct a human tower during the 24th Tarragona Castells Comptetion on Oct. 7, in Tarragona, Spain. The 'Castellers' who build the human towers with precise techniques compete in groups, known as 'colles', at local festivals with aim to build the highest and most complex human tower. The Catalan tradition is believed to have originated from human towers built at the end of the 18th century by dance groups and is part of the Catalan culture.

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Picture credit: Daily Mail, MSNBC, Tarragona Blog

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