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These Death-Defying Human Towers Build on Catalan Tradition | Short Film Showcase ctm magazine

Catalonia is ruled by the Spanish government, but its people have been constructing independent kingdoms for centuries. By climbing up backs and balancing on shoulders, Catalonians of all ages stack their bodies on-top each other to build castells, or human towers. The structures are not typical fortresses—notably, they are made of flesh and bone rather than sandstone or granite—but their strong foundations serve as a unifying force for many Catalonians.
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The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic’s belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.

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Read about the tradition of building castells.

Read more in “These death-defying human towers build on Catalan tradition”

See more from filmmakers Pedro and James.


About National Geographic:
National Geographic is the world’s premium destination for science, exploration, and adventure. Through their world-class scientists, photographers, journalists, and filmmakers, Nat Geo gets you closer to the stories that matter and past the edge of what’s possible.

These Death-Defying Human Towers Build on Catalan Tradition | Short Film Showcase

National Geographic



  • National Geographic on August 11, 2019

    The practice was first documented in 1801 as a cultural activity and became a competition in the 1980s. To learn more, you can read on here: https://on.natgeo.com/31juv83

  • 61jojo61 on January 14, 2021

    Visca ta terra, visca el meu país!!💪

  • Joan Gelpí on January 15, 2021

    Why is this in Spanish. At the very beginning there's written that Catalans have been oppressed for a lot of years, which is true. BUT THIS MAKES NO SENSE WITH THE DOCUMENTARY BECAUSE IT IS IN SPANISH AND NOT CATALAN

  • Its_rora1 on January 25, 2021

    This is so cool.
    I’m also from senora kilps.

  • Alba's makeup on February 2, 2021

    When you are close to a castell it's like being close to a beating heart, this is so so true, when they are finishing the castell you can hear all the breaths stopping at once, people containing their breath and then when it goes whell everybody starting to scream and going to "live" again, it's a really magical moment

  • Andrés Borrás on February 4, 2021

    Que belleza de tradición y video. Gracias ♥️✌️

  • jose belinchon on February 6, 2021


  • Yash Parihar on February 8, 2021

    I am from India and we have the same tradition here and we call it Dahi Handi.

  • Alphedor Oficcial on February 16, 2021

    A beautiful custom, yes, but the original one comes from the city of Algemesí in Valencia … as always trying to steal identities from other places.

  • Albert Muntané on February 18, 2021

    Gente de National Georapghic obligando a catalenes ha hablar en castellano. Asi son los de National Georagrafic

  • Robert16.11.1984 on February 19, 2021

    Visca Cataluña

  • Nic Smith on March 3, 2021

    How do you justify starting a video about Catalan culture by commenting on the persecution of the Catalan language, and then have all the voiceovers in Spanish?

  • Doug Lee on March 20, 2021

    Hard to believe people can do this but we saw it with our own eyes in a plaza in Barcelona. Amazing documentary!

  • fortymillioncoins on March 31, 2021


  • Carlets on May 3, 2021

    Visca Catalunya Lliure!!

  • Victor Botellero Solano on May 13, 2021

    I Love Catalonia
    Catalonia is not Spain
    Freedom for Catalonia

  • Santako Sound System on May 19, 2021

    Free Catalonia! We are neither Spain, nor France. Self-determination, independence & freedom political prisoners!

  • Gigizard on May 20, 2021

    my school can't open the video rn lol

  • Sebastiano Prospero Daga on June 2, 2021

    W catalogna.saludos da sardegna

  • Pol Mas on July 1, 2021

    Has nobody noticed that they all speak Spanish? Que parlin català, collons
    Visca la Terra!

  • deybeat on July 26, 2021

    Catalonia = Human Towers
    Spain = Bullfights…

  • N SC on September 17, 2021

    As a Catalan, can ' t help crying when I see Castells .. so touching and maravelous 💕

  • Bernabé Corbatón on September 17, 2021

    Los castellers no somos masoquistas. Si nos hiciéramos daño no lo haríamos!

  • Tex [BRA] on September 25, 2021

    My two cents, everyone on the top using motorcycle airbags in case they start to fall it could be triggered remotely.

  • Bleeding Pixels on October 12, 2021

    Here one has to break a pot full of butter to win, once on the top. ;D

  • Mr. Bob Dobalina • 93 years on October 15, 2021

    How many people does it take to change a street light bulb?

  • Jard Commm on November 15, 2021

    Good documentary, the unique claim I have is that I don't understand you made the people speak in Spanish, because is the language that is destroying the Catalan language, and people don't like it,.

  • Roberto M&M on December 3, 2021

    The oppression…hahahahha..pure Globalist propaganda..

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