“Castell” (castle in Catalan) is one of the most popular and unique traditions of Catalonia. Declared “Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO this activity is one of the most beautiful elements of local culture and a truly powerful and authentic team building experience.
“Castells”, also known as “human towers”, were first documented near the city of Tarragona in 1712. However it is within the last 50 years that this tradition has spread across Catalonia – specially in the 1980s with the inclusion of women which lead to constructions of 9 and 10 levels which were never even thought of before. Although they are mainly seen in festivals in Catalonia, this activity is also celebrated in the Valencian Community and the Balearic Islands.
Today there are almost one hundred officially registered “Collas” (“Castellers” centers/schools) in the world – mainly in Catalonia but also in places like Hangzhou, China or London in the UK. These centers are very well organized and run, however most remain amateur.
Human towers are built mainly during national holidays and local celebrations, festivals or even private events. There are also competitions between the different “Collas” – our friends from the lovely town of Vilafranca del Penedes are the most decorated and hold the record of the highest “Castell” – 10 levels of people with four in each level!
Over the years, at Barcelona Ambassadors we have put together workshops, tours and events with “Castellers” and the results have been always incredible. It is a powerful and fun team building activity where everybody understands their importance in a structure. It is also a great element to learn about and enjoy local culture and history.
During workshops that we organise for our guests, we first explain the historical and cultural aspect of the “Castellers” and then underline and show how we can apply the principals of it into any community or organisation. The experience is a lot of fun, the message of team work and team building gets through and we also learn about a genuine tradition.
The activity is completely safe, involves no risk to any participant and most importantly no part of the workshop is mandatory – each person decides on their own when, how and if they want to get involved.
Upon arrival to the selected school/center we first tour the facilities by the hand of our in-house guide/professional “Casteller” and learn about the history and present of this unique tradition. A true team of “Castellers” will share their experiences and explain techniques, safety measures, competition insights and much more.
After this introdutcion to the “Castell” world our guide will unveil that we came not only to see and listen but actually to take part in building our own human tower! – We always highly recommend to keep this part as a secret from the participants – the reactions and adrenaline rush is worth it!
Before enaging in various activities we put our belt – “faixa” – the traditional way. Shortly after we engage in some fun games to “warm up” and “break the ice”.
After the games we will receive detailed instructions and start focusing on building our own “Castle” along with typical live music in the background.
During the workshop we will also get to see the incredible capabilities of “Castellers” and the exercises they perform during training sessions.
Learning about and participating in the construction of “Castells” is a unique experience that will bring us closer to Catalan culture and traditions. Most importantly it will help us to understand better the importance of team work; communication, leadership and how each element of every construction is vital!