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Settlements: Vidin

Vidin - Pictures Of Bulgaria
Town of Vidin (57 614 inhabitants, 20-25 m above sea level) is situated on the bank of the Danube River, on its big curve in the most northwest corner of Bulgaria. It is 199 km to the northwest from Sofia, 102 km northwest from Montana, 52 km north from Belogradchik, 56 km northwest from Lom and 30 km to the southeast from the border town of Bregovo. It is one of the oldest Bulgarian towns. It is a regional administrative centre.

History: The past of this town dates 23 centuries ago. As early as 3rd century BC the Celts built a settlement here with the name Dounonia (a high and fortified place). The Romans put into final shape the fortress with the purpose to guard the border road along the Danube and named it Bononia. Bulgarians named the town Bdin, and Byzantines - Vidini. In the meantime it was ruined and built again many times. In 1003 Gavril Radomir, the son of the Bulgarian Tsar Samouil, stood the 8-months siege of the Byzantine Emperor Vassilii II. The town reaches the greatest flourishing at the end of 14th century, when it becomes a capital of the Bdin Kingdom of Ivan Sratsimir (1360). It has been a port on the river and an important trade centre of goods not only for domestic needs, but also for transit trade with Vlashko (Romania), Madzharsko, Dubrovnik, etc. A gospel from 1360 says that it was written in the great and crowded town of Bdin. The rise of the town ceased in 1396 when the Turks invades it. Since then Bulgaria started counting the 482 dark years of Ottoman rule, the 127195 endless days of persecution, terror, human misery, assimilation and overt genocide.
In those centuries Vidin had been a great fortress and an important administrative centre. In 17th century it was even called the main town of Bulgaria. In 1794-1807 the town became a centre of the absolute Turkish military leader Osman Pazvantooglu, who declared himself an independent ruler of a considerable part of Bulgarian northwestern territories. During his rule construction on a large scale developed in the town - new streets were made, big administrative buildings rose, mosques and medreses (Islamic religious schools) were built, etc. Some of them are preserved even till now. Vidin gradually turned into an oriental town, especially after the settlement of some Turks after the defeat near Vienna and the liberation of Serbia. Expression of desperate fight for national liberation was the famous Vidin Uprising of 1850 headed by Boiadzhi Stanko Voivoda. Gradually with development of shipping along the Danube and with the strengthening of the trade ties with Central Europe the standard of living of its inhabitants rose. Through Vidin Port Austrian Shipping Co. bought the production of the whole Western Bulgaria, incl. Macedonia. That went on till 1866 when neighbouring Lom was connected through a road with Sofia and replaced Vidin.

After the Liberation (1877) the town changed basically its ethnical population in favour of the Bulgarians. During the Serbian-Bulgarian War after the Union of Eastern Roumelia with the Bulgarian Principality (1885) Vidin was successfully defended by captain Atanas Uzunov. The town is a birthplace of the eminent Bulgarian social activist Naicho Tsanov and of world famous artist post-impressionist artist Jul Pasken (Iulius Pinkas, 1885-1930), a brilliant representative of the Paris School of Art.

Landmarks: Baba Vida Fortress - read in the separate article.

The Vidin fortified system, known also as the Turkish Kale, was built in 17th-18th century. Today in a comparatively good outlook are preserved the fortified wall facing the Danube, the northern sector of the fortress facing the town with its 4 gates - Stambolkapia, Pazarkapia, Nechirekapia and Florentinkapia. The system has the form of a semi-circle seesaw line of 1800 m diametre, touching the Danube River. Seen from the land the fortification consists of a moat and a ground rampart, whose corners are formed by 8 stone 5-angle bastions. With the construction of the Kale and including the Baba Vida Fortress as a main citadel in the common defencive system, in the second half of 18th century Vidin became a first-class key military point along the Danube.

The Town Historical Museum (tel.: 094 25609) is one of the richest and best-arranged museums in the country. It is housed in two buildings - in the past Turkish Konak (police office) from 18th century are arranged the Archaeology, Revival Period and National-Liberation Movement sections, and the Ethnographic section is placed in the Krustatata Kazarma (barracks building like a crest) - an original architectural monument from the end of 18th century.
There is also the Mausoleum of the first Bulgarian Ekzarh Antim I. The library of Osman Pazvantooglu (from about 1800, a monumental construction with original oriental architecture and woodcarving).

The St. Pantaleimon Church from 1634 is the most precious monument of Bulgarian architecture and art in the town from the age of Turkish rule. The St. Petka Church from 1633. The St. Dimitur Cathedral. The building of the military club, in which the Town Art Gallery is housed, the teketo (Islamic monastery) Saldahin Baba, Hadzhi Angels House, the Synagogue and many other interesting cultural and historic monuments.

There is a Theatre of Drama in Vidin, too.

Accommodation: Military Club Hotel (15, Baba Vida Str.). Rovno Hotel. Bononia Hotel. Tourist House (3, Iskra Str., 300 m from the railway station and 200 m from the port). There are 90 beds in 6 suites and in 2-bed, 3-bed and 4-bed rooms. The Danube Camping (7 km to the northeast of the town and 3 km from the village of Zlaten Rog) with fourteen 2-bed and two 6-bed pile bungalows along the banks of the Danube River. There is a regular bus transport from Vidin. Reservations can be done at Bononia Tourist Association (see below). Boats for sports and water tourism are offered against payment. There are a lot of interesting restaurants and entertainment sites in Vidin, but the most original one is in the former warehouse of the traders from Dubrovnic in the centre of the town.

Tourist information: At the hotels, at the Tourist House and at Bononia Tourist Association (3, Edelvais Str., tel.: 094 23828, 23206).

Transport: Two kinds of transport connect the town to the rest of the world - road and railway. There is regular bus transport to Sofia, Montana, Lom, Vratsa, Belogradchik and many other smaller settlements in the region. Telephone of the bus station - 094 23179. The railway station (tel.: 094 23184) is the final one on the railway line Mezdra - Vratsa - Vidin (Lom) and through the railway station Mezdra it is connected with the railway systen of the country. There is also a new river station (since 1992 there are is regular passengers transport from Bulgaria) and in the northern part of the town operates a ferry port (tel.: 094 24979), through which an extremely important ferry connection with Kalafat (Romania) is established. It serves a considerable part of the tourists stream to and from Bulgaria. There is a town bus transport in Vidin as well.

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Bulgaria Regions: Vidin