WHAT ARE THEY?
A "Castell" (this Catalan word means "castle") is a human tower built traditionally in festivals at many locations within Catalonia. At these festivals, several "colles castelleres" or teams often succeed in building and dismantling a tower's structure. On November 16th 2010, Castells were declared by UNESCO to be amongst the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The tradition of building Castells was originated in Valls, near the city of Tarragona, towards the end of the 18th century. Later it developed a following in other regions of Catalonia and, since 1981, when the first Castell of 9 levels of the 20th century was built, it became very popular in most of Catalonia and even Majorca.
WHEN WILL WE SEE THEM?
We inform you about the dates when the most important Castells events take place during the Festivities of Santa Tecla, in case you decided to take into account these events to organize your arrival or departure.
In Tarragona, on the first Sunday of the festival, next year on September 18th, the human castle day is held in the Plaça de la Font square, with two of the best colles of this year's competition and the two colles of the city that obtained the best results the year before. This, Tarragona's feast day, has enabled creation of the most difficult human towers.
On September 23rd, Festivity of Santa Tecla, the city's four colles castelleres (human castle groups) prove their best constructions at the plaça de la Font square which is full of spectators.
On September 24th the city's colles castelleres face their last very special round on the human castle day at the Plaça de les Cols square. At the base of the cathedral's stairs the colles have to lift a pillar of four and walk it to the balcony of the Town Hall building, at the plaça de la Font.
The pillar goes up and down the stairs of the Pla de la Seu, goes through the carrer Major downwards, defying the strong descent of the Misericordia and resisting fatigue when going through the plaça de la Font square. 500 meters in total that the colles take approximately 10 or 15 minutes, as an average, to cover.
The colles start the route in order of seniority. Therefore, the first are the Xiquets de Tarragona, followed by the Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona, the Xiquets del Serrallo and, finally, by the Castellers de Sant Pere i Sant Pau The pillar of la Mercè is not the only walking pillar in the world of human castles within a festive context, although it is the most spectacular due to the length and technical difficulty of the route and the thousands of people that hold their castellers at all times.
Also, during the Festivities of Santa Tecla, there are different moments when you will be able to see them training while they are preparing for the important cited dates.