Sunday, November 9, 2008

Visiting the Smallest Town in the World (Hum, Croatia)

With a population variously quoted at 17, 18 and 23, the tiny medieval travel wonder of Hum on the Istrian peninsula in western Croatia is officially listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest town in the world. Such a moniker swells this village of little more than a dozen grey stone houses with hundreds of visitors in the summer months. The overcast spring day that I visited, there seemed to be no more than twenty people in the town (and let’s face it, you could see both streets standing in one place in the mini main square).

The size of the town belies its rich history of around a thousand years. Its town walls and fortifications remind people of the regular battles fought over the centuries.

The Church of St Jerolim is richly adorned with fragments of brightly coloured 800 year old religious frescoes and is overseen by an impressive bell tower.

Hum’s main claim is as the final point on the Glagolitic Trail, a walking path through a number of small villages over seven kilometres with eleven significant points of interest which commemorates this ancient Croatian script. The Glagolitic alphabet was introduced in the ninth century by Saint Cyril to translate the bible into the local Slavic language. While this script has faded into obscurity, this same saint was associated with and has named after him the Cyrillic alphabet (used by a number of languages including Russian, Serbian and Bulgarian).


In Hum, a large copper door guards the entrance to the main stone passage into the town. The door includes words of welcome on the large door knockers and twelve shields symbolising the calendar months. Through the passageway are a number of stone tablets with ancient Glagolitic engravings.


The small village pub offers a homebrewed aromatic brandy called humska biska made from an ancient secret recipe which incorporates a cocktail of herbs including white mistletoe. The locals claim is has strong medicinal qualities with curative powers for a whole host of internal issues including high blood pressure. It certainly provides a relaxing afternoon tipple overlooking the olive fields and vineyards dreaming of what life must have been in this little Croatian hamlet, now a modern travel wonder with the impressive billing of smallest town in the world.

Other Central European Posts
The Aquamarine Necklace (Plitvice Lakes, Croatia)
Bountiful Bled (Slovenia)
Underground Fantasy (Skocjan Caves, Slovenia)
Personal Space (Halstatt, Austria)

19 comments:

Suzanne Perazzini said...

What an amazing town! I suppose having a church classifies it as a town or perhaps it needs a town hall too.??

Ivana said...

Mm..It's seemed as a classic town.u're really have great shots here.anyway, care 2 xchange link with my North Sulawesi blog? I've added ur link in my blog.Thx

Lifecruiser said...

Totally incredible! Looks like a real treasure to me. I love old towns and especially small ones.

I'd love to taste that humska biska too :-P

p.l.s. said...

I wonder how big their police force is :D

Beautiful pics, btw.

eunice said...

Smallest Town in the world? I heard Croatia is very beautiful. Is it safe to backpack in Croatia nowadays? Singapore is also very small hahah , is one of the 3 smallest city states in the world. =D

Ur comments are funny too! haha hope u can submit some funny pictures and put funny captions on them at my mushroom blog.

travelphilippines said...

wont mind living in that town seem so nice and classic.

Mark H said...

@suzanne: Not sure what makes it a town - I'm sure a church is part of it.

@ivana: Thank you.

@lifecruiser: Hum is a real little treasure.

@pls: I guess the same size as their ambulance service, fire brigade, ...

@eunice: Croatia is very safe to visit.

@travelphilippines: Too small for me.

evanh said...

I enjoy reading your in depth views on the places you travel and nice blog,you want to exchange link with me..thanks alot and have nice day..

Mark H said...

@evanh: Please email me to discuss.

Melanie said...

Mark, thank you for this post! My husband and I are talking about going to Croatia and Slovenia next summer...and Hum's now on our list!

Bizarre to think that my family Thanksgivings are bigger than their whole population...

Anonymous said...

We weren't aware of this place. We're going to try to get there on my trip next year.

Anonymous said...

This is the most interesting blog I have read all year???

Colby

Anonymous said...

The most influential topic that I have read all day?

-Sincere Regards
Darrel

Mark H said...

@melanie: Hope you enjoyed your visit to Hum.

@anonymous(es): Thank you

Anonymous said...

Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article

Mark H said...

@anonymous: Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hum has a church, a post office and a railway station, also a restaurant

Mark H said...

@anonymous: I don't recall the railway station at all - are you sure. The town is so small it is tricky to hide it...

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I found your blog via Google while searching for a related topic, your site came up, it looks good.

 
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