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Human castles

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It’s not often that you’ll come across a group of grown men and women who willingly climb onto each other’s back to form a tall, if a bit wobbly, human tower. But when you do, it’s a sight to behold. Catalunya’s famous castellers – teams of people competing to build human towers – originated in Valls, near Tarragona, at the end of the eighteenth century. Over time, the rest of Catalunya embraced the tradition, and castells now form a part of festivals throughout the region. The impressive castells can loom up to ten human storeys tall, and are completed by a small child scrambling to the very top.

Castells are a feature of Tarragona’s annual Festival of Santa Tecla in mid-September. To learn more about the history, pay a visit to Tarragona’s Casa de la Festa, Via Augusta 4 (end June to end Sept Tues–Sat 11am–2pm & 5–9pm, Sun 11am–2pm; rest of year Tues & Wed 9am–1pm, Thurs & Fri 9am–1pm & 5–7pm, Sat 10am–2pm & 5–7pm, Sun 11am–2pm; free; t977 220 086). The Festa Major of Vilafranca del Penedès in late August also showcases castells.

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