07/01/19

Tarragona: City of Human Towers

Tarragona is not as famous as other cities in Catalonia but it’s definitely crucial to understand our Catalan culture.

Roman Heritage of the old City of Tarraco

Because of its location, it’s an effervescent port city. Tarraco, as it was named in Roman times, was once the capital of one of the most important provinces of the Roman Empire in Hispania – today’s Spain. With an amphitheatre right by the sea, it’s not surprising that the city is often known as the Mediterranean Balcony. In the year 2000, UNESCO declared the whole archeological area of Tarraco a World Heritage Site.

The Mediterranean Balcony, Tarragona

The Mediterranean Balcony (Image by Fashion Abejita)

Tarragona and the Human Towers

Apart from its Roman heritage, Tarragona is the cradle of Castells. This is a cultural phenomenon that you can find especially in Catalonia and the Valencian regions. The tradition, as we know it today, originated at the end of the 18th century in Tarragona after many people from Valencia moved to this southern area of Catalonia.

In its Valencian origins, this was only a type of dance performed in September for religion festivities. This dance had three parts, and one of them consisted of making a small human tower. This inspired Catalans to develop this unique tradition of Castells.

Different colles forming Castells

Different colles forming Castells in Tarragona (Image credit: tarragonaturisme.cat)

Castellers are the people that form the Castells. This is a Catalan word that means Castles. Finally, Colles are the different groups of people who form the three levels of the Castells: Pinya, Folra and Enxaneta.

Here we reach an interesting point in our story. When we decided to bring a bit of Catalonia to Manchester, we thought of ourselves as one of these Castells.

Pinya, Folre and Enxaneta

In a Castell, the Pinya is the base of the castle where all the weight rests giving support to the whole construction. Folre, lies right on top of the Pinya, and it’s the core force of the tower. Lastly, Enxaneta is the final person who culminates the tower. Always a child, he or she raises a hand to signal they are the top of the tower.

The Enxaneta of the Castell in Tarragona

The Enxaneta of the Castell (Image credit: tarragonaturisme.cat)

At Tast, we have taken inspiration from the Castells and have named our three floors after these three levels. Every floor in our restaurant represents the supporting base, the strong core and the culmination of our culinary experience.

Firstly we have Pinya: our bar and ground floor where our guests can enjoy a light lunch or a casual dinner. Just right on top of it, we have Folre: the main restaurant and the heart of Tast. And then there’s Enxaneta: our top floor where very interesting things are about to happen. This floor will shine this year with the arrival of our gastronomic experience.

The motto of the Casteller human tower is Força, Equilibri, Valor i Seny – Strengh, Balance, Courage and Good Sense. Above all, the Castellers are an example of challenging team work, fraternity and solidarity. A true symbol of Catalonia and the values that make Tast happen everyday.

If you have the chance to see the Castellers, don’t miss it. Going to Catalonia to see them live is an experience worth living.