This medivial fortress id the main sight in Vidin. It was built in the 10th century and is still quite well preserved.
The fortress is located right at the banks of the Danube with a beach in front of it.
If I remember correctly, entrance fee was 4 BGN.
Generally wandering around Vidin one comes across a plethora of different historical, artistic and architectural delights very few of which actually seem to be labelled or signed in any way. Discovering what's what or who's who can take quite a bit of research as there doesn't seem to be any definitive guidebook - well not that I discovered anyway.
For instance the main picture here of the three rather attractive women on the piazza just off Tsar Simeon Veliki I had originally assumed was maybe the Bulgarian equivalent of "The Three Graces" but in fact turns out to be Vida (of Baba Vida Fortress fame) and her two sisters Gumza and Kula which I only found out when researching some background on the fortress itself and came across a similar photo.
Perhaps such a guidebook does exist but is a locally-kept secret but if not I'm sure it would make for an absolutely fascinating project given the richness of the town's heritage.
The website below covers some of the main monuments and gives an idea of their diversity.
Testimony of the past glory of the city, of an era of fruitful trade & a poli-ethnic society,
the abandoned synagogue lies today hidden among vegetation and behind communist era blocks of flats. But it makes a romantic sight, wandering around and inside it, for this is all that remains of this once vibrant community, one of the most important Jewish centers on the Danube during the Ottoman period.
Considering its size, I wonder how large used to be the Jewish community in Vidin ? Why did they leave after WW II? How many still live in Vidin? What will the future bring to this old building, will it ever be restored ?
The mosque finds herself in a much better state as compared with the nearby synagogue…...i thought this was because the Muslim community of Vidin is still alive....but apparently this is not the case., for there are hardly any muslims left in Vidin today.
Pazvantoglu mosque is considered a national heritage site, probably because of its unique minaret - a heart, instead of a crescent moon, on the top ! Most unsual symbolism promoted by the rebelling feudal Osman Pazvantoglu, the sponsor of the edifice.
This most interesting piece of information is thanks to VTer Venelin !
Whist Vidin is well-endowed with both ancient and recent mouments to its long and interesting history the Fortress of Baba Vida is without doubt the most impressive. This is Bulgaria's best preserved Medieval Castle and has been sympathetically restored to pretty much its former glory. The moated castle sits imposingly on the bend of the river, its towers and ramparts commanding the river, the town and the surrounding valley and its history goes back to Roman times.
Legend has it that the Bulgarian origins of the castle began when a powerful local Boyar died leaving three daughters, Vida, Gumza and Kula who then divided his lands between them. Gamza and Kula married men who subsequently squandered their birthrights but the wise Vida never married but instead became the mother of her people and had the castle built, using the original Roman foundations, for their protection. Hence the castle is named 'Baba Vida" meaning "Old Mother Vida".
Whether the legend is true or not the name has obviously stuck and the fortress has played an important role throughout the area's past including withstanding an 8-month seige by the Byzantine Army around 1000 AD. The present day castle has evolved over the centuries including major modifications during the brief period of Austrian rule and by the Ottomans more laterly. It now houses a dedicated museum containing some interesting local relics.
Typically soviet piece of civic architecture depicting an oversized woman on top of a tall column. The monument is now covered in graffiti and red paint.
Raised to pretext a celebration of the WWII resistance against Nazis, it was soon associated another significance – soviets are here.
It reminded me of similar monuments, all depicting glorious women which dominate the city-lines in Yerevan, Tbilisi, and even as far as Bukhara, Uzbekistan – same recipe used to shape the collective imaginary and boast soviet dominance over space and time.
One of the few public acknowledgements of the postwar political repression in communist Bulgaria. The memorial looks like a rather modern church and is locked.
Looking at it, I couldn’t refrain an evil thought – communism victims seem…quite insignificant and small, even obscure...when compared with the benefits of communism indicated through the grandeur of the Mother Bulgaria.
I did not visit the Thracian and Roman artefacts, jewellery & statues inside, but I wandered around the beautifully restored downtown villa which hosts the museum – the pagoda shaped wooden building used to be a police station (aka konak) during the Turkish rule in the 19th century.
The city’s main cathedral, recently restored with the help of the Beautiful Bulgaria project.
Interesting frescoes and icons inside, as well as the usual oversupply of comically unfriendly octogenarian church cleaners.
I chose to observe the no photos inside, though number of locals did not notice the no mobiles one.
The ruins of the 3rd century Roman fortress of Bononia have been reconstructed by the Bulgars in the 10-14th century, then by the Turks in the 17th century, who used it to stockpile weapons
The fortress was spared destruction during the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878, so it is considered the best preserved medieval stone fortress in Bulgaria.
Wander around and through the fortress courtyards and bastions, make a cliché picture to the waxwork prisoner sitting in the dungeon, walk the remaining outer walls on the Danube shores.
Entrance - 2 leva
A good proportion of Vidin's town centre is occupied by greenery, with its tree-lined streets and numerous parks adding to the overall sense of spaciousness. Undoubtedly the finest of these parks is the City Park, a swathe of egalitarian communal space following the river from Gradinska out to the Baba Vida Fortress which is liberally sprinkled with herbaceous borders, floral displays, trees, monuments and statuary and when the weather allows is enjoyed by young and old alike.
When the sun shines the whole town seems to be here, the old boys (and girls) sit around passing the time of day, whether reminescing or plotting is anyone's guess. Lovers find secluded corners, young parents stroll whilst their children play and the outdoor cafes look after those who just want to sit with a coffee or a beer and watch the world go by. The park is big enough never to seem crowded yet intimate enough to have a very tangible local ambience and really is a showpiece for the town as a whole.
If no-one ever told you this was here I doubt very much that you would realise that this slightly formal-looking building with some interesting statues around it located at the start of the riverfront gardens is in fact Vidin's Nikola Petrov Art Gallery. Perhaps this should really be an "Off the beaten Path" tip as the signage to indicate that there is an art gallery here is totally non-existent and hence obviously no details of opening times nor even any indication that this is free (not even in Cyrillic!!).
Well I still don't know what the opening times are, nor am I certain that it is in fact free but it does make an interesting little insight into local culture and is well worth a visit.
As far as I can gather the gallery consists of two rooms: the one on the right holding the permanent display of works by local artists (or at least with a local theme) both classical and contemporary, whilst the room on the left seems to be dedicated to special exhibitions.
Here's a couple of paintings which caught my eye and for clues to the exact whereabouts of the gallery check photos #3 & #4.
Once you've had your wander out to and around the Baba Vida Fortress (or further) and the sun is now high (or low, or rising, or even if its not sunny at all!!) and you need to rest those old plates and get a bit of shade then this is the ideal place to do it. The "Leden Kut" is a busy little open air bar/bistro at the start of the riverfront park offering some basic snack foods such as cheesy chips and little fishes. More importantly though it does also have nice cold Zagorka served in the shade of the eponymous umbrellas and at 1.20 Leva for a half-litre is also one the cheapest places in town!
Cheap, cheerful, nice guy behind the bar and a pleasantly laid-back atmosphere - HA! I even had coffee there one morning!
The Vidin Region is a great place for fishing.Theres the River Danube ,one of the largest rivers in Europe ,with some of the largest fish in Europe .You can catch Pike,carp,catfish,sturgen,perch,bream.Then there are many lakes and small rivers.The biggest lake being Rabisha ,where most locals fish for their favourite food catfish.You can also catch trout in the mountain rivers ,the locals call them "mountain fish".So if your a keen fisherman /woman then North West Bulgaria is a must.You can choose a different location everyday and even arrange for a local to take you out in their fishing boat.Accomadation and food/drink are very cheap ,so you can have the best of both a fishing holiday combined with an inexspensive stay.
To this day the following sites have been preserved: Baba Vida fortress (on the picture), built in the 9th-10th centuries on the ruins of a Roman fortress (rebuilt many times, its present appearance dating back to the 18th C.), the Turkish konak (the second half of the 18th C.), the mosque and library of Osman Nuri Pasha, the cruciform barracks of 1798, old Renaissance buildings, a synagogue.