THE MCC IS A WORLD HERITAGE AMBASSADOR: THE HUMAN TOWERS

THE MCC IS
A WORLD
HERITAGE
AMBASSADOR:
THE
HUMAN TOWERS

A TEAM’S FIGHT AGAINST GRAVITY

Castells are human towers built by successive layers of people (castellers) who come together to create vertical structures, a collective challenge that defies the very rules of gravity. It is a type of human architecture declared by UNESCO as a Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and can be seen in performances and competitions held as part of the festivals on the casteller calendar. The castellers –the men, women and children who build human towers– compete with technical skill. However, the magic of the human towers is largely found in the difficulty, anticipation and unpredictability involved.

HUMAN TOWERS TO REACH A COMMON GOAL

Human towers are built by castellers who work as one to create different shapes, called structures. Each type of structure is thoroughly studied and requires skilled construction techniques that are tirelessly practiced during rehearsals. The result of this collective effort is showcased during public performances. The objective is not only to assemble the tower, the enxaneta (the child who forms the uppermost level of the tower) raising an arm in the aleta salute to signal that the tower has been completed, but also to disassemble the castell without it fer llenya (making firewood), that is, collapsing before or after it is crowned by the enxaneta.

PARTS OF THE
HUMAN TOWER

The basic castell structure is formed by the pinya, the base of the tower that serves to counterbalance the tower’s weight and to cushion the fall in case of collapse. The next stage is the tronc (“trunk”), the vertical part of the tower visible from the segons (“seconds”), the second story of the tronc, to the dosos (“twos”), a level consisting of two people. The tower is topped by the aixecador (“riser”) or acotxador (“croucher”), the last level before completing the tower with the enxaneta (the child who forms the uppermost level). For more difficult constructions, a folre (“reinforcement”) may be located like a smaller pinya on top of the base pinya, which may also be topped by manilles, reinforcement for the third and fourth levels that is built on top of the folre. When the tower has no reinforcement or less support than usual, it is called a castell net (clean tower) or a sense folre (no reinforcement).

GROUPES DE ´CASTELLERS´

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