Friday, 2 March 2012

The Smallest Town in the World

The tiny village of Hum  (pronounced 'Hoom') is noted on brochures to be the smallest town in the world.  It boasts a full-time occupation of 23 residents.  You approach the town through large bronze gates, entering the original castle walls through this doorway on foot.  It is perched at the apex of a steep hill and commands impressive views!

Typical in its construction to other Medieval hill-towns, it has everything they have - but at a fraction of the size!  Hum has a church, a teeny-tiny main square, a loggia built onto the front of its administrative building, a plethora of arches and twisting streets and shops and houses - on a delightfully small scale.

Everything about Hum is dainty and quaint.  Tiny cobbled streets meander through ancient stone cottages lined with succulent plants potted in whimsical limestone pots.  The plants peep shyly from holes water-scrubbed over the years into fantastically creative and imaginative shapes.

The castle doors are inscribed with 12 medallions, on which the 'farming' calendar from times far past are inscribed.  It is these medallions from which the names of the Croatian months are derived.  This is why I found them so very difficult to learn - there is no pattern linguistically to hang your memory on!

Around every corner is something new to catch your imagination.  We stumbled upon this wildly creative mini-garden, planned from natural and enhanced rock formations in the rear of the town.  Complete with bench, it is a charming place from which to contemplate the magnificent views.

Within the town gates, there were numerous charming terraces, gardens, painted and shuttered windows - all screaming  to be painted and photographed!

A charming konoba (local cafe) sported an outdoor seating area with views to guarantee your need of a shovel. (To scrape your jaw off the ground with, of course!)

As it was late in the season, many of the shops were closed, but one in particular, door wide to the amazing vista, proudly plied its wares.  The young girl working there was sweetly friendly, and shared that her friends thought her to be crazy for living so 'far from the sea' (20 minutes).  She was in need of the shovel to retrieve her jaw when I declared that I live 2000 miles from the sea!

Returning through the magical castle portal, I couldn't resist capturing this view from one of the ancient clefts used as defense positions.  I pictured knights of long ago peering through these ports in the search for rival knights brave enough to dare their fortress.

I fell in love with Hum.  Its 'mini-me' stature, and its bigger- than- life hospitality and charm were an irresistible combination.  It was like visiting a Barbie play castle.  (Without all the nauseating pink plastic.)

There are so many incredible places to see and experience in rural Istria.   Just reliving it and tracking down photos is enough to put a big smile of contentment on my face.

Yo HAVE to go if you get the chance...

1 comment:

  1. what a nice trip you had! it is indeed a fascinating smallest town. and you have such a good sense of composition, all you photos are very charming.