Castells, ‘castles’ in Catalan, are a cultural phenomenon which has its origins in Catalonia and consists of erecting human towers.
This tradition originated at the end of the 18th century in Valls, Tarragona, when rival groups of people, called colles, began to compete in constructing the different kinds of human towers that we recognise nowadays.
In 2010, castells were declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO. This made castells a universal tradition, with the highest level of recognition that can be given to an element of popular culture. It was established that “human towers are recognised by Catalan people as an integral part of their cultural identity, transmitted from generation from generation and providing community members a sense of continuity, social cohesion and solidarity”.
Each castell is the result of universal values such as teamwork, solidarity, self-improvement, the feeling of belonging and the integration of people of all origins, races and social backgrounds.
People who take part in building castells are called castellers.