Journey through the history of the Croatian language between painting and sculpture
This is the smallest city in the world. Despite counting only 20 inhabitants and having an area of 1.1583 square miles, It has a surprisingly solid urban structure. A tiny city but with great treasures. The chapel of St. Jerome, near the city cemetery, contains Roman-Byzantine frescoes dating back to the XII-XIII centuries; according to the archaeologist Fučić , they were commissioned by the patriarch of Aquileia, Istria’s most important lord at that time. These frescoes are very much affected by Byzantine influence. The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary is depicted on the triumphal arch.
The Virgin is represented while she spins the wool, based on the Proto-Gospel of James. On the southern wall we used to find the the cycle of the Life of Christ , but hardly anything of it remains to this day. The Passion of Jesus is the other great fresco found in the northern wall. The draping of clothes gives lots of movement to the scene, thanks to lighter and darker contrasts.
Glagolitic engravings are also present in this church. The Glagolitic alphabet is the oldest Slavic alphabet created by Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century to translate the Bible. Hum is also the final destination of a monumental route that, starting from Roč , extends for about 4,3 miles.
This route is the so-called “Glagolitic Alley”, wanted by the Ciacava Agreement which was opened about 30 years ago. The avenue, that connects the two towns, consists of eleven individual monuments, which represent the development of the Slavic alphabet of the Croats. The first monument is the “Ciacava assembly column” with the stylized letter “S”, symbol of rationality. The gate of Hum, the conclusive element of the avenue, is in copper and has a bucranium. Twelve medallions are placed on the top of the door, which represent rural life for each month of the year. The Glagolitic alphabet is however a common thread in Croatian culture and we also find evidences of it in other places.
The Plomin tablet, for example, is the union of two different cultures in Croatian territory. This tablet contains an 11th century Glagolitic inscription and a late ancient figure that portrays the pagan god Sylvanus wearing Roman popular clothes. Later, due to Christian influence, this pagan god was identified as St. George. The most important testimony of the Glagolitic alphabet in Croatia is the “Baska Tablet”, found near the altar in St. Lucy’s church, on the island of Krk, now preserved in the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb since 1934. These inscriptions describe the donation of some land to the Benedictine church. The stele represents the symbol of the birth of the Croatian people; in fact, the term “Croatia” is for the first time mentioned in its text.