The Human Towers, inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Castells are human towers built by members of amateur groups, usually as part of annual festivities as the Festivity of La Mare de Deu de la Salut, celebrated in Algemesí, Valencia, declarated Intangible Heritage of Humanity and all Catalonian towns and cities, allowing us to delve into the powerful and spectacular nature of castells and the values associated with these human constructions in an individualist world: strength, balance, good sense, courage, perseverance, trust in others, the culture of effort, teamwork, etc. , a unique combination of strength, balance and visual beauty that captivates audiences all over the world.
Castells, whose origins date back from more than 200 years, constitute a living cultural tradition that has become of the most authentic expressions of culture in Europe.
The traditional setting is the square in front of the town hall balcony (Catalonia), the streets of Algemesí (Valencia) and in front of the basilica’s facade of this town.
The human towers, or human tower builders are formed by castellers standing on the shoulders of one another in a succession of stages (between six and ten). Each level of the tronc, the name given to the second level upwards, generally comprises two to five heavier built men supporting younger, lighter-weight boys or girls. The pom de dalt – the three uppermost levels of the tower – comprises young children.
Anyone is welcome to form the pinya, the throng that supports the base of the tower. Each group can be identified by its costume, particularly the colour of the shirts, while the cummerbund serves to protect the back and is gripped by castellers as they climb up the tower.
Before, during and after the performance, musicians play a variety of traditional melodies on a wind instrument known as a gralla (used in Barcelona) and Dolçaina (used in Valencia), setting the rhythm to which the tower is built. The knowledge required for raising castells is traditionally passed down from generation to generation within a group, and can only be learned by practice.
In other parts of Spain human towers are static, but in Algemesi, Valencia, the human towers walk. Discover in Algemesí the only human towers walking in the world, you can visit the trials of members throughout the year