Castells and Castellers - human tower builiding Popular

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Carrer de Bilbao 212,, 08018, Barcelona
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Catalan traditions - Castellers - Castells - Human Tower building. Els Castellers de Barcelona. The Barcelona 'colla' (group) of 'castellers' (human-tower builders) celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2009. They were re-founded in 1969 making it the oldest colla (casteller group) in Barcelona and the 4th oldest in Catalunya. Since 1987 the Castellers de Barcelona have managed to build several 8-level towers every year and since 1998, at least one 9-level castle each year.

The record for a human tower is 10 levels. This has only been achieved three times in total. Twice by the Minyons de Terrasa in 1998 and 2002 and most recently by the Vilafranca del Penedès who managed to reach 10 levels for the first time ever in 2013 after 30 previous attempts over the years.

They reached the elusive height in August 2013 when Vilafranca del Penedes built a human tower of 10 levels with 3 people on each level on St Felix's day - La diada de Sant Fèlix - during their annual town festival of Vilafranca - la Festa Major de Vilafranca del Penedès. Another popular and difficult structure is the 4 person moving pillar, which you can see at many Catalan festivals. 

Castellers train from February and in Barcelona the first annual performance by the castellers is usually at the Santa Eulàlia festivities in February. Then the Castellar season continues until November. Such is the popularity and pride of the this Catalan tradition that the castells tradition was listed on the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2010.  Castellers from Barcelona and Catalunya also perform all over the world. 

Pictures human towers Barcelona
Pictures Castellers Merce Festival
BCC video report about castellers
Castellers de Barcelona
Castellers de la Sagrada Família
Castellers de la Vila de Gracia
Castellers de Sants
Castellers del Poble-Sec

Visitors are welcome to watch the Castellers de Barcelona weekly practise sessions at Carrer de Bilbao 212 near Clot metro station (Red line L1 or Purple L 2). Training sessions are usually on Tuesdays at 19.30, Thursdays at 19.30 and Saturdays at 19.00, from February to November (August closed for holidays).

Another kind of human tower building in Barcelona is the Falcon discipline named after a Czech tradition called 'Sökol' which means falcon. Falcon structures were popular in Catalonia at the beginning of the 20th century, but then fell out of favour in many areas, although they remained active in the Penedès region. The Barcelona Falcons group was founded by people from Penedès and they peformed first at the Saint Eulalia festivities in 2003.

Falcons de Barcelona
Colla Falcons de Vilafranca

Castellers monument in Barcelona
Barcelona unveiled a 30m high monument to all castellers in 2012 by sculptor Antoni Llena on Plaça de Sant Miquel in the Gothic area of Barcelona just behind the city hall square of Plaça Sant Jaume.