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Visit the Smallest Town in the World – HUM

Smallest town in the world bears a name Hum and it is settled in Istria, Croatia. This cute little town is very popular among tourists. From a very first sight at Istrian hilltop villages, with walls and houses built from huge blocks of stone, you could easily convince yourself that all the legends and myths of Istrian giants who carried those blocks up the hills on their backs were true.

When you lose the sense of orientation, lost in the meandering valleys of countless streams at the bottom of those hills, finding their way to surrender their waters to the sea, it’s easy to turn your hopes on giants for help.

And when clouds cover the hilltops, turning everything mystic and riddling, it’s hard to believe creatures like giants don’t really exist.

Hum - The Smallest Town in The World

Welcome to Istria - The Land of the Giants and smallest town in the world!

Once upon a time, Istria was home to gentle, giant creatures that were happy to help people with hard work. The giants never did any harm to men, no matter how hard they worked.

They’ve even built them towns. The towns of stone, high up above the ground, where people felt safe and could live freely.

One of the towns built by giants according to a legend is Hum

– the smallest town in the world.

Smallest town in the world Hum crowns a hilltop above the valley of river Mirna. After the giants built towns like Roč and Motovun, contented with their work they wondered what to do with the stones they’ve got left. Having only a small portion of the stones they decided to build a tiny town, the tiniest town in the world – Hum.

To show their respect for giants’ effort, people of Hum never built any houses outside the town walls. For thousand years they lived happily inside the walls that were encircling their gorgeous, tiny hilltop town. They didn’t feel any need to enlarge it. So, Hum stayed like it was.

This is what its title refers to.

What Makes Hum The Smallest Town in The World?

Hum is considered “the smallest town in the world” as an example of urban

 development happening exclusively within its original town walls.

Narrow Streets of Hum
Narrow Streets of Hum

Hum only has 3 rows of houses, 2 parallel, non-traffic streets, 2 churches, a restaurant, and about 20 inhabitants. And more than 300.000 visitors coming every year.The only way to enter the town is through the iron gates. Originally, the gates were wooden, but they’ve put up the iron gates instead to better withstand the test of time.

Above the gates there are images of 12 moons, each of them representing a month in a year, each of them showcasing an everyday routine associated with that particular month.

The gates are the final point of popular Glagolitic Alley – a memorial composed of a string of eleven outdoor monuments dotting the road between Roč and Hum to honor the historical Croatian scribal tradition in Glagolitic script.

The signs written in Glagolitic letters show up everywhere in the streets of Hum,

reminding the visitors of the town’s long-running history that dates back to the XI century.

But lately, Hum is attracting visitors even more for other significant reasons – the Biska.

The Hometown of Biska

Biska is a strong brandy made from white mistletoe and four other herbs. The original recipe is two thousand years old and is preserved only in the Hum Tavern that got the recipe from the late Hum pastor Josip Vidou, a famous herbalist
Homemade Biska
Homemade Biska

Biska is quite strong. Its flavors will awaken every cell in your body and put a smiling shine in your eyes.

And you will surely not be the only one, because people are rushing into Hum to try it.

Biska is also a perfect way to start your traditional meal served daily in Taverna.

The Real Istrian Cuisine

After a strong aperitif, you can continue with authentic Istrian delicacies like Istrian prosciutto, sheep cheese, and truffle cheese, traditional berry soup, pasta with home-made goulash or with truffles or with home-made sausages, ombol, and sauerkraut.

In Hum Tavern all the Istrian specialties are being made according to authentic,
original recipes, transmitted from generation to generation.

Also, you should not miss the well-known Istrian soup, which is made from red wine, a piece of bread well baked on grills, some sugar, pepper and olive oil.

And then you could move on to wine…

There is a strong reason why Istria is known as “The Croatian Tuscany”.

Authentic Istrian wine sorts, like Teran or Malvazija, have refreshing, fruitful taste, and

will tenderly warm your soul with mild and cheerful haze.

Slightly dazed from all the Biska and wine, you will wander through the picturesque streets of Hum, wondering what it is like to live in a town where everybody knows your name. In a town so small that folks are more like a family, tied together with strong, deep personal connections. You can get a closer picture of it if you visit Hum on July 10th when they are ceremonially choosing the mayor.

The Mayor’s Ceremony

It’s an old custom turned into the highlight cultural event accompanied by the
opening of the city gates, folk music and dance traditions of northern and central
Istria.

The Perfect Combination - Wine and Cheese
The Perfect Combination - Wine and Cheese

Eleven local judges elect the mayor of Hum. Judges, the former mayor and residents of Hum and his 33 villages, gather on the town square.

The judges sit around a large stone table while the mayor holds a county baton, modeled after the ruler’s baton of ancient Croatian kings.

Judges vote by cutting their votes into the baton. The new mayor will manage public works, look after order and cleanliness. He will resolve disagreements among residents and put a penalty on any disobedience that disrupts order in Hum and surrounding villages.

Although it is hard to believe there could ever be any disobedience when you live in a gorgeous town like Hum.

Built by giants.

Preserved by Hum-ans.

 Untouched by bandits.

The smallest town in the world.

Your CTC Team, S.J.

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