Baba Vida Castle
Vidin (Bulgarian: Видин, archaically spelled as Widdin in English) is a port town on the southern bank of the Danube in north-western Bulgaria. It is close to the borders with Romania and Serbia, and is also the administrative centre of Vidin Province, as well as of the Metropolitan of Vidin (since 870).
Vidin is the westernmost important Bulgarian Danube port and is situated on one of the southernmost sections of the river. The New Europe Bridge, completed in 2013, connects Vidin to the Romanian town of Calafat on the opposite bank of the Danube. Previously, a ferry located 2 km (1 mi) from the town was in use for that purpose.
Vidin emerged at the place of an old Celtic settlement known as Dunonia. The name itself meant “fortified hill” with the typically Celtic dun found frequently in Celtic place names . The settlement evolved into an Roman fortified town called Bononia . The town grew into one of the important centres of the province of Upper Moesia, encompassing the territory of modern north-western Bulgaria and eastern Serbia.
When Slavs settled in the area, they called the town Badin or Bdin, where the modern name comes from.
The central streets of Vidin
Orthodox Cathedral of St Dimitar (St Dimitrius)
Vidin’s main landmark, the Baba Vida fortress, was built in the period from the 10th to the 14th century. In the Middle Ages Vidin used to be an important Bulgarian city, a bishop seat and capital of a large province. Between 971 and 976 the town was the center of Samuil’s possessions while his brothers ruled to the south. In 1003 Vidin was seized by Basil II after an eight-month siege because of the betrayal of the local bishop. Its importance once again rose during the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185–1422) and its despots were influential figures in the Empire and were on several occasions chosen for Emperors. From the mid 13th century it was ruled by the Shishman family. In 1356, Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Alexander isolated Vidin from the Bulgarian monarchy and appointed his son Ivan Stratsimir (1356–1396) as absolute ruler of Vidin’s new city-state – the Tsardom of Vidin (Bdin / Badin).
Hungarian occupation of Vidin
In 1365, the Tsardom of Vidin was occupied by Magyar crusaders. Under Hungarian rule, the city became known as Bodony, but the occupation was short-lived. In 1369, a united Slavic Bulgarian empire drove out the Hungarian military, but in 1393 the whole of Bulgaria, along with the rest of the surrounding region, fell to the Ottoman Empire. This brought an end to Bulgaria’s medieval state empire.
The Ottomans went on to conquer the despotates of Dobrudzha, Prilep and Velbazhd as well. Vidin’s independence did not last long. In 1430 the Ottomans invaded and turned Vidin into a sanjdak.
In the late years of Ottoman rule, Vidin was the centre of Turkish rebel Osman Pazvantoğlu’s breakaway state.
In 1853, The Times of London reported that Widdin, as it was called, was
a considerable town, with a population of about 26,000, and a garrison of 8,000 to 10,000 men. Widdin is one of the important fortified places of the military line of the Danube. It covers the approaches oif Servia, commands Little Wallachia, the defiles of Transylvania, and, above all, the opening of the road which leads through Nissia and Sophia on to Adrianople. Its form is an irregular pentagon; it is strongly bastioned, possesses a fortified castle, with two redoubts in the islands, and its defences are completed by an extensive marsh.
During the Serbo-Bulgarian War (1885), the town was besieged by a Serbian army. Although vastly outnumbered, the Bulgarians were victorious.
Vidin has a humid subtropical climate transforming to temperature continental climate. In the winter months, inversions are very common. The average annual temperature is 12.2°C.