The municipality of Vidin is located in the northwestern corner of the Republic of Bulgaria and follows the two most typical bends of the Danube in the section where the river flows from north to south. The city of Vidin is located in the lowest terrace of the Vidin Lowland, 35 meters above sea level.
The climate in the municipality of Vidin characterizes with very cold winters with minimum precipitation, while summers are extremely hot, with numerous precipitation. The flat landscape allows for humid and warm air flows from the northwest in the spring, summer an fall, and for cold continental air flows from the east in the winter.
The city of Vidin was established in the 3rd century BC and has been developing for centuries. Although no archaeological evidence was found to firmly support this, it is presumed that the area was first settled by a Thracian tribe, the tribali. The Roman conquest of today's northwestern Bulgarian lands began during the third decade BC and continued until 46 AD. The city was a part of the Roman provinces of Misia, Upper Misia and Coastal Dacia.
During the Roman period, the city was called Bononia. At the time of the mediaeval Bulgarian nation-state, it was known as Budin (until the beginning of the 11th century) and as Bdin (after that) and was a seat of a military and administrative region. In the second half of the 13th century, it became the main city of the Vidin Principality, and later, of the Vidin Kingdom. The Turks called the city Vidin. Written evidence shows that, as one of the most important ports, the city was a prospering commercial and economic center. The crafts were extremely well-developed, initially only to meet the needs of the Roman, and later, of the Turkish army, but sufficient to also meet the needs of the citizens.
The most typical features of the antique Roman, medieval Bulgarian, Turkish, post-Liberation and new Vidin have combined to form today's mixture of different ages. The beautiful nature and the specific atmosphere created by the remnants of the past ages, combined with modern buildings, determine the city’s modern look, lifestyle and uniqueness.
Vidin is rich in historic landmarks. The 10th century Baba Vida Fortress has been completely preserved. The fortress played an important role in the city's defense during the mediaeval period and was completed in the 14th century. The other Vidin fortress, Kaleto, was first built by the Romans. In the Middle Ages, it was reconstructed and has been partially preserved. The two fortresses are national monuments of culture and history. The Koluka Turkish konak became a museum in 1956.
Other architectural, cultural and historic monuments include: the Cross-Shaped Barracks; the Turkish post office; the art gallery; the Mathematics High School building; the synagogue; the Drama Theater; the St. Dimitar, cathedral; the St. Panteleymon, St. Nikolai and St. Petka churches, as well as many other monuments of world, national and local importance.
Vidin is also known by its beautiful riverbank park. The unique layout of the park, a mixture of different styles, was preserved through the centuries. The combination of an English park layout and Baroque forms of vegetation gives the park a unique, typically Bulgarian look. The riverbank park is located along the bank of the Danube and includes wonderful beaches and recreation places.
The Baba Vida Castle - the biggest historical sight in Vidin
Baba Vida is the only authentic and fully preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria with a past as both a military fortress and a rulers' residence. The Castle towers in the north-east part of Vidin on the curving bank of the Danube River. This place, dominating the surrounding valleys, encompassed the ancient city's fortification and resisted many an enemy raid. The castle has been reconstructed and extended several times.
Its history dates back as long as 2000 years ago and covers different construction periods: the Ancient period 1 - 4 century AD, the Bulgarian period 10 - 14 century, and the Ottoman period 15 - 19 century. Reconstruction works were done in the 20 century.
The Baba Vida Castle was built upon the foundations of the ancient fortress of Bononia, which was probably erected upon the ruins of a Thracian settlement in the early 1 century AD. The remains of the Bononia fortress have been preserved best in the composition of the north-eastern angular tower, which was later walled up into the foundations of the Baba Vida Castle. It comprises the earliest Roman level of the Castle.
Since 15 century the castle was a military fortress with defensive functions only. Construction modifications were accomplished in the late 17 and early 18 century, when the introduction of firearms demanded such fortification.
Having survived the stormy tumult of the centuries, today The Baba Vida Castle is the most impressive monument of the Bulgarian fortification architecture in the Middle Ages.
The castle was proclaimed National Monument of Culture in 1964. It is one of the hundred national sites.
In 1964 a summer theatre was set up in Baba Vida in which summer theatre days are held.
The natural scenery of the medieval fortress is accepted as irreplaceable by many famous movie makers. The Polish director Andjei Vaida is the first to shoot parts of his film Ashes in 1962. Since then among the authentic stone towers are shot about 50 Bulgarian and foreign historic films.
The Mausoleum of Antim I - the mausoleum of the first Bulgarian exarch
The mausoleum of the first Bulgarian exarch - Antim the First, is a square construction, built after the project of the archbishop Ilia Popov. The building material is white stone from the Vratza region. The building was completed in the year 1934. At the entrance there is a portrait of Antim the First in a mosaic style. In the inside part of the building there is a stone sculpture of Antim the First made by Ivan Dudolov. The inside walls of the building are painted. In the crypt there is a sarcophagus with the perishable relics of Antim the First.
The cathedral St. Dimitar - the second biggest temple in Bulgaria after the Alexander Nevski cathedral in Sofia
A temple with the same name was built two times. The first one was constructed from wooden material in the 7th century, which survived 2,5 centuries. An important event of the Bulgarian Orthodoxy is connected with this temple. In this temple in 1868 the Vidin's bishop announced the disengagement of the Vidin’s bishop's residence from the Istanbul's patriarchate. Later on Antim was acknowledged as the first Bulgarian exarch. In 1884 was taken the decision for the construction of the new church. So the old temple was pulled down in 1889 and in March 1885 the foundation stone of the new temple was laid with funds of citizen's donations.
The first mass in the new temple was celebrated in October 1900 and this data turned in a patron saint's day of the temple. What followed, were years of a hard work on the inside decoration. In July 1924 this work was completed successfully and officially inaugurated from the Vidin's bishop Neofit.
Today the cathedral St. Dimitar in Vidin is the second biggest temple in Bulgaria after the cathedral Alexander Nevski in Sofia. The central dome of the temple is 33 m high. The cathedral is a national cultural monument.