Hum – the smallest city in the world
Hum with its 30 (2011 Population Census) inhabitants is formally listed as the smallest town in the world. It is located in the center of Istria region, near the town of Buzet, know as a “town of truffles”. The city which is only 100 meters long and 30 meters wide holds so much of history. According to the legend, Hum was created by accident when the Giants did not have many stones left when building the cities in the valley of the Mirna River, so they decided to build this miniature city.
The town’s history starts in early medieval age and it was first mentioned in documents dating back to the 12th century under the name of Cholm. The town was entirely enclosed by walls in the 11th century on the remains of an earlier fortification. The houses were constructed inside the walls and the interesting fact about Hum is that from its conception till this day almost nothing was built outside the walls, which makes Hum one of the rare well-preserved examples in the world of urban development completely within the walls of the medieval city. A watch tower, bell, and the town loggia were built in 16th century as an amplification of town’s defenses.
The town’s parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in 1802 on a site of an earlier church. There is also a small Romanesque church of St Jerome built in the 12th century which holds ancient wall paintings of high quality. The oldest examples of Croatian Glagolitic literary culture can be found in the church, dating back to the second half of the 12th century. In the town’s museum, there are other Glagolitic writings along with other important historical pieces. There is an impressive path which takes you to the city of Hum called the Glagolitic Alley. It is a 3-kilometer long path, decorated with huge stone sculptures dedicated to the Croatian Glagolitic script and it connects the city of Hum to a small village of Roč. Each stone monument represents a letter of the Glagolitic alphabet, used in the area until the early 20th century. This path leads to the Double door, the main entrance to the town.
Hum is also known as the town of Biska, which is a traditional Istrian brandy made by a 2000 years old recipe. Other than truffles, this particular homemade brandy is a perfect souvenir from the smallest city in the world. Another interesting fact about Hum is the custom that inhabitants preserved to this day, which is electing the mayor every year on 11th of June (The day of Hum) when all the men of the parish gather in the City Lodge engraving votes on the wooden stick.
The area of Hum and nearby villages is a perfect place for history explorers and nature lovers. Hum with its beautiful fortification, stone streets, squares, church and its surroundings are a perfect place for exploring Istrian cultural heritage.