Progress is what makes the world build and prepare for the future. So when you hear of a town that has no interest in growth…..everything seems wild.
Hum is a picturesque hilltop settlement in Croatia’s Istria region whose main call to fame is being the smallest town in the world.
Located in central Istria, approximately a 2.5 hours drive from Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb, the medieval hilltop town of Hum is home to between 20 and 30 people (21 according to the 2011 national census, and 27 as of 2021). Its origins are shrouded in mystery, but its first mention in historical documents dates back to the year 1102, when it was called Cholm. A bell and watch tower was built in 1552 as part of the town’s defenses, and guards and their families started moving in, but the town never really developed over the centuries, and even today it consists of just three neat rows of medieval houses and two streets.
Measuring only 100 meters long and 30 meters wide, it’s easy to see why Hum is considered the world’s smallest town. What’s not so clear is why it is classified as a village. After all, there are much smaller villages than this; some consist of just a handful of homes spread over long distances.
The reputation of ‘world’s smallest town’ has done wonders for Hum, and today tourism counts as one of the two main sources of income for the locals, along with agriculture. There isn’t that much to see, due to the sheer size of the place, but locals do their best to make visitors film welcome, and walking along one of the only two cobbled streets, admiring the medieval architecture has its charm.
Surrounded by a small stone fence erected in medieval times to protect the town from bandit attacks, Hum somehow never outgrew this barrier in the way that most other towns did. And now that it has a title to protect, I suspect we won’t be seeing any new homes being built there any time soon.