Municipality of Sv. Petar u Šumi
Surrounded by old woods and located on a hilly plateau, Sveti Petar u Šumi is the most unusual and unique Istrian village. Unlike other Istrian places and towns where the settlements are on the hills, in Sveti Petar u Šumi there were no houses around the church or the monastery, in order to preserve the peace and recollection of the Benedictine monks.
1.065 inhabitants, 14,3 km²
Municipality Sveti Petar u Šumi covers 14,3 km², and according to 2011 Census, it has 1.065 inhabitants.
Important influence by the monks
The village of Sveti Petar, today the Municipality with the same name, was named after the Benedictine monastery which in Latin documents was called Monasterium Sancti Petri in Sylvis – the Monastery of Saint Peter in the Woods.
The monastery is first mentioned in documents in 1174 with an unclear note that it already exists for 50 years, but the monastery surely existed even before 1124. The legend says that Hungarian king Salomon (1053-1087) took refuge here after he was dethroned in dynastic fights. Later he moved to the Monastery of St. Michael on the Hill, near Pula, where he died in 1089. When the interest in Benedictine order waned and the monastery was deserted, the emperor Friedrich III gave it to the Pauline order.
The Paulines continued the culturan, economic and social activity of their predecessors and also renovated the monastery. They shaped the cloister – the covered area over the cistern, in a unique way
A Pauline painter painted a copy of the famous painting of Our Lady of Częstochowa, the patron of Poland, for which a religious legend said it was painted by St. Luke. Apart from this painting, St. Peter and Paul Church is specific for its side walls which are covered in leather wallpapers, and today it is on the list of Cultural Heritage sites in Croatia, along with its organ. The small cemetery includes the old church of St. Rocco, the former parish church that kept its grey look and its roof is still covered in stone slabs (“škrilje”).
Of the monastery library, there is one Latin manuscript preserved, written in Caroline calligraphy in late 11th or early 12th century. The St. Peter’s fragment is from the same time – it is a stone fragment with Cyrillic and Glagolitic letters carved in, which means that the Benedictine monks used all three of our calligraphies.
St. Peter’s karst sinkholes
The hilly terrain of the Municipality is known for many arable sinkholes and there is no other area that has so many of them of various sizes (there are over 200 of them here). The people were always into agriculture and many large woods after which the place was named were cut. Today, the inhabitants also make living in rural tourism, and there are 25 vacation houses in this area.