The Alley of Glagolitic Priests

Želimir Janeš

The Alley of Glagolitic Priests is one of the capital projects of the Čakavski sabor (Chakavian Assembly), a distinctive monumental complex that stretches  along the road from Roč to Hum, in memory of the Glagolitic priests who upheld cultural, written and social activities and supported the Croatian national consciousness in Istria from the 9th to the 19th century. The Alley displays the development of Istrian, Croatian and Slav Glagolitic culture from Saints Cyril and Methodius to the present day.

In the occasion of the first Day of Hum, Željko Marinac, the Mayor of Buzet, handed over the keys of the smallest town in the world solemnly and symbolically to Zvane Črnja, Secretary General of the Čakavski sabor, and to Grga Novak, president of the Yugoslav (today Croatian) Academy of Sciences and Arts. The intention was that the Čakavski sabor develop its activities there, the long-term reconstruction of the town above all. With this act, Hum was officially handed over to the Čakavski sabor for management. On the same day in Buzet the Hum Revitalization Committee was founded, consisting of 32 members, with Vojko Trs as president (then director of Zagreb Television), and the document Proposal of the revitalization program of Hum was made public.

Zvane Črnja proposed that Hum and its villages be declared and arranged as an ethno-park, but it met with scepticism, so he suggested another, the Alley of Glagolitic Priests, and he requested prof. Josip Bratulić to draft a project proposal. At the meeting of the Main Board of the Čakavski sabor, Črnja red the proposal, it was accepted and Bratulić was asked to find a collaborator.

It was to be the sculptor Želimir Janeš, and they conceived eight memorials to the Glagolitic priests and glagolitism (later their number grew to eleven), defined its positions, forms, contents and the symbolic meaning.

Akademik Josip Bratulić

At a conference in Hum, held on 6th September 1976, on the revitalization of Hum, the proposal to arrange the Alley as a special project of the Čakavski sabor was presented and accepted. On the basis of the conceptual project made by Josip Bratulić, it was decided to start the design and building, to place sculptures along it, with a symbolic one at its beginning as a signpost for Hum, The smallest town in the world.

The Alley has been created between 1977 and 1985, and it consist of eleven features. It begins at the foot of Roč, from the Pillar of the Čakavski sabor, and monuments stretch along the road to Hum all the way to the main town gate in Hum, the last monument.

The monumental complex, with its distinctive language,  eloquently testifies to the essence of the idea of the Čakavski sabor. It marks the development and historical roots of the Glagolitic alphabet among the Croats, particularly in Istria.