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VIDIN

The town of Vidin is situated on the bank of the Danube River, on the lowest terrace of the Vidin Lowlands. It is in the shape of a semicircle with the streets and buildings oriented toward the river, along which a long park with recreational areas and beaches is spread out. Its geographic position determines that it will have a very wide reach and an important place in the national and European transportation systems, which is a serious prerequisite for the building of a second bridge over the Danube connecting Bulgaria with Romania.

The Celts founded a fortified settlement - Dunonia - in the 3rd century B.C. When the Romans conquered the northwestern lands of Bulgaria, they completed the formation of the fortress, which was intended to protect the Danube-border road. The town was included in the Roman provinces of Moesia, Upper Moesia and Coastal Dacia. During the Roman era, it bore the name of Bononia. During the time of the medieval Bulgarian state, it was known as Badin (until the beginning of the 11th century) and Bdin when it was the centre of the military-administrative region. It was the main town of the Principality of Vidin (later to be the Kingdom of Vidin) since the second half of the 13th century. The Byzantines called it Vidini, and the Turks called it Vidin. As one of the most important ports, the town flourished as a centre of trade and commerce. Crafts which were originally much connected with the needs of Rome, and later of the Ottoman army, but that was satisfactory to the local inhabitants, developed extremely well. Massive construction of administrative buildings, mosques, and medresa (Islamic religious schools) were begun during the time of the Ottoman military commander, Osman Pazvantoglu, who declared himself the independent ruler of a large part of the lands of Northwestern Bulgaria. Vidin became a typical oriental town. The ancient Roman, medieval Bulgarian, Turkish, post-Liberation and modern Vidin have intricately woven their characteristic marks and today the town is a subtle mix of various ages with an unimitable appearance.

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LANDMARKS
• The Baba Vida Fortress-Museum- the largest historical monument in Vidin and the best-preserved medieval fortress in Bulgaria; which served as a defensive fort and a ruling castle. It was constructed during different historical periods - from the 3rd to the end of the 6th century. It experienced many enemy attacks, and was repaired and expanded numerous times. Its most rapid growth was during the rule of Tsar Ivan Sratsimir. The main body of the fortress dates from that period - the main towers and bastions along with the connecting interior walls. The Baba Vida castle was built on the remains of the antique fortress of Bononia from the beginning of the first century. The natural decor of the medieval castle has been used by many cinematogra-phers to shoot film episodes. There are a theatrical stage and a museum exhibition in the fortress.
• The memorial to residents of Bdin, which stands in the central square, in memory of the officers and soldiers who died in the wars of 1912-13 and 1915-18.
• The mausoleum of those who died at the time of the Serbo-Bulgarian war of 1885.
• St. Demetrius the Martyr's Memorial Cathedral (17th century) -the second largest in Bulgaria after the St. Alexander Nevski's Memorial Temple in Sofia, a cultural monument of national significance.
• Churches: St. Panteleimon's (in the yard of the Metropolitan Residence of Vidin), and St. Petka's (partially built below ground level) both constructed at the beginning of the 17th century upon older foundations.
• The Chamber of the Metropolitan of Vidin, built in 1924 at the initiative of Metropolitan Neofit.
• The mausoleum of the first Bulgarian Exarch Antim I, built in 1934. The bodily remains of the Exarch are preserved in a sarcophagus in its underground level.
• The Ottoman Kale (Fortress), whose beginning was laid with the first fortifications built by the Romans. The fortress was reconfigured during the Middle Ages. All that remains are the fortified gates -Florentine, Enicher, Pazar and Stambol Kapia.
• The Ottoman Konak (police and administrative centre), Koluka, built during the second half of the 18th century. Its appearance was significantly changed later on as elements of Bulgarian National-Revival architecture were introduced after the Liberation from the Ottoman rule. It has functioned as a museum since 1956.
• Krastata Kazarma (Cross-Shaped Barracks), constructed in 1801 on the site of the gardens of the Pasha's palace (Staria Saray). It was used as a detention centre by the Janissaries (troops made of men stolen from Christian families as children and brought up as fanatic defendants of the Ottoman Empire), and, after the Liberation, as a barracks for the Bulgarian troops. The building bears this name because it is in the form of a cross with four equal wings each having an almost self-contained inner yard. An ethnographic exhibition and a historical museum are arranged within its walls now.
• The Osman Pazvantoglu Mosque and Library, built around 1800. The mosque's minaret ends with a heart at its peak (a symbol of Pazvantoglu's independence from the Sultan) and a crescent (the official symbol). The ruler dedicated the mosque to his rebellious father, slain in Vidin by order of the Sultan, and the library with its precious books - to his mother.
• The Jewish Synagogue, built in 1894. - the building has an impressive facade
• The Riverside Park of Vidin with an original composition, a peculiar mixture of styles - landscapes (which bear the character of English parks) combined with bushes and greenery shaped in a Baroque style (characteristic of Austrian gardens). It contains wonderful spots for relaxation and beaches. The Vida Theater, the mosque and library of Pazvantoglu, the Turkish post office, the path of the Roman fortress wall, and memorial monuments are also situated here among other landmarks.
• The Art Gallery, displayed in the building of the army club.
• The Saldahin Baba Teke (a Dervish monastery).
• The building of the Antim I Mathematical Secondary School.
• The Drama Theater and other monuments of global, national and local significance, situated in beautiful buildings from bygone eras.
• The remains of the ancient Roman town of Raciaria near the village of Archar 27 km (17 miles) from Vidin. The town was heavily populated, wealthy, and famous for its gold products until the 5th century when the Huns destroyed it twice, the second time forever.
• The Late Antiquity fortress of Castra Martis (3rd-4th century) in the town of Kula.
• The medieval cave monastery, Albutinski (13th century) next to the village of Gradets, 12 km (7.5 miles) northwest of Vidin.
• Bozhuritsa Park 18 km from the town, between the Milchina and Vidbol rivers, with opportunities for water sports, fishing and beach-going.

Live broadcast: Radio Vidin

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