Vidin (or Widdin) is the first Bulgarian big port town located at the bank of the Danube in the north west of Bulgaria. The most famous sight there is the medieval fortress “Baba Vida”.
Vidin was an ancient Celtic village called Dunonia, meaning “fortified hill”. In Roman times the name changed to Bononia and when the Slavs came it transformed to Badin or Bdin, which is the origin of the modern name. The town flourished most during the 14th century, when was the capital of the Vidin Kingdom ruled by Ivan Stratsimir.
During the occupation of the Ottomans, Vidin became an important administrative and economical center. At that time it was called “main town of Bulgaria”. A lot of new buildings and modern roads were built. The port made the trade in the town prosper. Vidin was also a spiritual center at this time.
The Baba Vida fortress, surrounded by a moat and located at the bank of the Danube is one of the most significant sights of Vidin. This is the only entirely preserved medieval fortress in Bulgaria, which was built in the 10th century.
The name of the fortress is connected with a legendary woman called Vida. There are several legends that explain the building of the fortress. By one of them, there were two brothers and two sisters, each of which founded a town. Vida was the youngest sister and the cleverest. She founded Vidin. Another legend says there were only two sisters – Vida and Kula. Kula wanted Vida to marry and settle but she didn’t want to because she couldn’t find anyone she liked; She was very clever and beautiful. The sisters separated and Kula founded her town. Years later, when Vida was old, she built the fortress to protect the people of her town from the Ottomans. That’s where the name comes from – “Бабини Видини кули” (Grandmother Vida’s Towers).
There are many old Orthodoxal churches such as St Pantaleimon, St Petka (both from17th century), and St Greatmartyr Dimitar (Dimitrius) (19th century), also a Jewish synagogue, a mosque and a library of Osman Pazvantoğlu, who ruled the area during its most dynamic period. When you visit the fortress, don’t miss also the beautiful park near the river.
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