Monsters and Critics
The action comes from the Catalonia region in northeastern Spain, a region that also contains the Pyrenees Mountains.
Catalonia (Catalunya) is made up of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona.
Barcelona was where we landed upon arrival but then we were transported to Vilafranca
In our exclusive clip, Keoghan took Monsters and Critics to the outer reaches of the province in Terrassa to watch one group, the
We joined production in the Tarragona province for a late night of practice while all ages participated in this longrunning tradition of human tower building, a true Catalonian artform that is not without physical risks.
Host and journalist Phil Keoghan (Amazing Race) not only explains the process but actually
The competitors are referred to as Castellers who build “Castells” as they take each other on at major festivals in the region.
But why do they do it and what is the subtext of this act?
The interlocked human tower defies physics and gravity.
Catalan social life centers on preparing for this tradition is all about family, food, and celebrations that honor these various traditions, but there is political subtext as Keoghan will learn in the course of the episode.
These castells are the most famous symbols representing Catalonia, a region that wants greater autonomy. The knowledge for creating castells is traditionally passed down from each generation within a local group, and can only be perfected by relentless practice.
But the true nature of these towers is one of regional pride with political undertones that rings strongly all throughout the provinces in Catalonia.
This event shows off the community spirit, their desire for liberty, and freedom from Spanish interference and the release of their noted Catalan political prisoners currently held in Spanish jails.
Emmy-winner Keoghan literally works with the lavender shirted Minyons in Terrassa, Keoghan helps to be part of a tower during their practice. Later in the episode, he does it live from the square in Vilafranca during actual competition.
Read our interview with Phil Keoghan here!
Read our interview with EP Gretchen Eisele here!
Tune in tonight to see him in action from Vilafranca
Explorer airs Mondays at 6/5c on National Geographic Channel.