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The human towers: a high cultural legacy

The human towers: a high cultural legacy

29.06.2023 Activities in Lloret Culture

The human towers (castells in Catalán) are one of the most deeply rooted traditions and cultural manifestations in Catalonia. They are human towers several stories high built by a large group of people, called castellers, who pile their bodies on top of each other. Keep reading to discover the origin of the human towers, how they are built and how can they be.


What are human towers?

A human tower is a several stories high human tower built by a large group of people of different ages, sexes, and physical complexions. Each human tower is built by castellers (people that make human towers) from the same colla castellera, which can be made up of between 75 and 500 people.

The castellers climb over each other without any kind of harness or additional support to raise the human tower as high as possible before dismantling it safely. The most common human tower constructions have the basic structures of 1 (pillar), two (or tower), three, four and five, although constructions of up to 10 castellers have already been built on each floor. To date, the tallest human tower built has been ten stories.

The human towers are one of the most deeply rooted traditions and cultural manifestations in Catalonia. They have been built for more than two hundred years in Camp de Tarragona and Penedès, because of the expansion of the Valencian Muixeranga, which combines acrobatic, choreographic, religious, and burlesque components.

Starting in the eighties, the human towers gradually spread throughout Catalonia, Northern Catalonia, and the Balearic Islands, becoming a symbol of Catalan identity. Currently they are known throughout the world for their spectacular nature and in 2010 they were declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.


How are the human towers built?

Teamwork is essential in the construction of the human towers, where each member of the group has a specific role and must trust their companions. The human towers are made up of the pinya, the tronc, and the pom de dalt, culminating in the aixecador and the enxaneta.

The first step in building a human tower is to form the pinya, which is the solid and stable base of the structure. The strongest and most experienced members are placed at the bottom to support the weight of the upper levels, acting as a safety net. It is made up of several lines of interconnected people who support each other.

On the pinya rises the tronc, the structure of the human tower. The castellers stand one on top of the other and form the central rows of the structure, climbing up the backs of their companions until they place their feet on the shoulders of the casteller located higher up the tower. Your role is critical in providing stability and strength to the tower, maintaining balance and a firm footing to ensure everyone's safety.

At the top of the tronc is the pom de dalt, the last three floors of the human tower. It is made up of the youngest and lightest members of the group, who are responsible for crowning the tower. Regardless of the type of human tower that is being made, this part always has the same composition.

The enxaneta is one of the most important figures of the human tower. He is the person in charge of climbing to the top of the human tower, whose responsibility usually falls on a boy or girl between 5 and 10 years of age. Once the enxaneta places both feet on the shoulders of the castellers who are below him/her and raises his/her hand (to make the aleta figure), the human tower is considered loaded.

People tend to think that the enxaneta is the smallest casteller in the group, but the smallest are usually the aixecadors. The aixecador or acotxador is the person who occupies the penultimate floor of a tower and is in charge of giving security to the enxaneta at the time of completing the tower and making the fin. In this way, the enxaneta can comfortably pass over him and crown the top of the tower more easily.

When a human tower begins to be erected, it can end in four ways depending on the degree of perfection: attempt (if the tower falls before charging), dismounted attempt (if the enxaneta or the human tower falls before charging the entire tower), charged (if the human tower falls after being loaded) or unloaded (if once the human tower is loaded, the enxaneta and the rest of the castellers manage to lower safely).

human tower castell enxaneta


What kind of human towers are there?

The structure of the human towers can be formed by a single person per floor (pilar), two people per floor (two or tower), three people per floor, four people per floor, five people per floor, six people per floor, seven people per floor, eight people per floor, nine people per floor, ten people per floor or twelve people per floor.

The human tower raised from below are those that are made with the technique of raising it from below. They are usually human towers of two, three or four people. The human tower with agulla are those that are formed by a structure of at least three people that have a pillar in the middle.

The folre is the part of some human towers made up of castellers that reinforce the second floor and help the third floor, acting as a second pinya located on the tronc. While the manilles are the part formed by castellers that reinforce the floor of thirds and help the floor of rooms, like a third pinya, always on top of the lining. Both the folre and the manilles are found in human towers with a simple structure, but they are only used after a certain number of floors whose construction reaches a level of extreme difficulty.

human tower castell folre


How are the castellers dressed?

The castellers are dressed in a colored long-sleeved shirt, white pants and a black sash. The castellers that are in the tronc, the folre and the manilles go barefoot, while the members that make up the pinya wear shoes. The smallest, which are the ones that make up the upper floors of the human tower, wear helmets for safety.

The members of the colla castellera wear the shirt of the same colour, with the shield in the part of the pocket; Being long-sleeved, in summer it is usually worn rolled up and in winter with a T-shirt underneath. The pants have a high and narrow waist, always white and are made with a resistant fabric to withstand the shoring during the ascent and descent manoeuvres of the other castellers. The girdle is usually black, of variable length and width; It wraps around the body, at the level of the kidneys, and serves to protect the lower back and as support points for the castellers.


Diada castellera in Lloret de Mar

Come and enjoy this Catalan cultural performance live. On Saturday, July 8 at 7:00 p.m. at carrer de la Vila, 1, a diada castellera will take place in Lloret de Mar, with the participation of the Colla Castellera de l'Alt Maresme i Selva Marítima, the Castellers de Figueres and the Castellers de Vilafranca.

Witness this impressive manifestation of Catalan culture by staying at one of the five Rosamar Hotels in Lloret de Mar. Enjoy our hospitality and the comfort of our hotels near the beach while you immerse yourself in the tradition of the human towers as a family, as a couple or with friends.

Do not miss the opportunity to witness a diada castellera in Lloret de Mar!

exterior Hotel Rosamar & Spa
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