Pla de la Seu, Tarragona, July 2022
Photo: Xavi Vicente
The sky is the limit
Pla de la Seu, Tarragona’s evocative mediaeval quarter and home to the city’s cathedral, at the start of July saw the return of one of Catalonia’s most iconic cultural activities, human towers. As making human towers, or castells as they are known in Catalan, takes large numbers of people in close proximity, the last two summers in Catalonia have been characterised by a distinct lack of castells performing in squares around the country because of health restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic. In the picture, one of the country’s foremost groups, the Castellers de Vilafranca, can be seen raising a single column, eight levels high, in front of Tarragona’s cathedral. Also performing on the same day were two other leading groups, the Xiquets de Tarragona, who this year are celebrating their 50th anniversary, and the Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls. As events involving large numbers of people return after two years of health restrictions, scenes like this will once again become common around Catalonia, especially as Catalan towns recover another summer cultural tradition that has suffered during the pandemic: the return of the annual local festival known as the festa major.