From Great Big Story, a very tall story — 9 to 10 tiers and nearly 15.4 meters or 50 feet high — from Tarragona, Spain where thousands of people gather for an incredible contest of strength, focus, and teamwork. Behold the Human Towers of Catalonia, a rural tradition that dates back to the 18th century.

How are these castells or human towers formed? From Barcelona.de:

The towers at that time resembled very much the ones of today, the basic structure of a castell, as they are called in Catalan, having barely changed. Such a tower always consists of three parts. The basis is the so-called “Pinya“, a relatively large ring, onto which the weight of the load above is distributed, and which stabilizes the structure. This ring also softens the fall of the castellers, when the tower falls apart.

Depending on the height of the tower, one or two additional ring-shaped floors (“Manilles“) are put on top of the pinya.

On top of this, the actual tower is built. The “tronc“, Catalan for trunk, consists of several levels with a specific number of people. Depending on the number and distribution of the up to 9 people of a ring, each castell has a name of its own.

Climbing to the top of the tower is only allowed for kids, because of their low weight. They form the “pom de dalt“, the tower dome.

Watch more human tower-building from the 2012 Concurs de Castells. Plus more from Spain.

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