02. THE MEDIEVAL "BABA VIDA" FORTRESS

The Medieval fortress "Baba Vida" is Vidin’s everlasting landmark. It’s the only entirely preserved Medieval defensive fortification in Bulgaria. It’s built upon the angular Northeastern tower of the Ancient Roman castle Bononia. The Bulgarian construction of the fortress began in the second half of the 10 c., and its main construction was in the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (the end of a 12 to 14 c.). The biggest change was made by Tsar Ivan Sratsimir (1355-1396) whose name is associated with the construction of the highest tower. The fortress has a total area of 2.4 acres including the surrounding ditch that fills up with water from the Danube. It consists of an inner fortress zone in the shape of an irregular quadrilateral with 9 middle and corner towers. The walls and the towers ends with embrasures. The outer fortress zone with the entrance tower was built later. The residential part was placed in the inner zone with a view to the central yard. Foundations of a church from 13-14 c. have been found there. The Ottomans seriously damaged the fortress after the capture of Vidin in 1396. The conquerors restored it and after that reconstruct it several times. From late 17 until early 19 c. it was accommodated for the use of firearms. In that period were built the embrasures for rifles and small-caliber cannons and a few buttress as well. For the needs of the Ottoman army a vaulted stone premises used as warehouses, rooms for the watch and a prison were built instead of the destroyed residential area. In the period after the Liberation (1878) until the end of World War I (1914-1918) the fortress was given to the Military authorities and the access was limited. It has been open to the public since 1958 and is also a Museum. The fortress is a Monument of Culture of National importance and is amongst the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria. Except as a tourist attraction, "Baba Vida" also is used as a natural movie prop, a theatre and various other cultural events.


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