Let’s Visit Baba Vida: The Only Fully Preserved Medieval Fortress in Bulgaria
VIDIN is a Danube town that has many sites to be proud of. Located in the North-Western Bulgaria, on the border with Romania, it is often left under the radar for many travellers. Baba Vida is the most famous attraction in the city. However, if you decide to visit Vidin, you will be pleasantly surprised by all the other things you can see there.
Vidin is located 245 km from Sofia, well connected with regular buses and trains. It has a bridge connection with Romania and is a stop to many Danube cruises.
Baba Vida Fortress
The symbol of the city is “Baba Vida” – the only fully preserved Medieval Fortress in Bulgaria. It is built on top of a Roman fortress during the Xth century. It has never been conquered by an enemy army. Baba Vida rises proudly next to Danube river and is often a first stop for the visitors of the town…
It was used for military purposes during the First and Second Bulgarian Kingdoms, the Ottoman Empire and all the way to 1958. Now, it is a famous tourist attraction and а movie scene. More than 50 movies were filmed in Baba Vida. There is a summer scene inside the walls where regular folklore events are organized.
The Fortress is indeed very well preserved. You can walk inside, visit one of the eight towers, the jail or just enjoy the view to Danube and Romania. “Baba Vida” has a square shape, and the 4 of its corners are oriented to the world cardinal points. The Fortress is surrounded by a 6m deep ditch which was filled with water.
An interesting legend is hidden behind the walls of the Fortress…
Baba Vida was the oldest of three sisters who were unhappily married. She decided to give a vow to never get married and build the Fortress to spend the rest of her days inside. But, as faith often plays with us, Vida fell in love with the architect. Because of her vow, however, she ordered his death after the Fortress was built.
But let’s stick to the facts…
Baba Vida Working Hours:
Oct 1 – Mar 30: 9:00-17:00 (Mon-Fri); 10:00-17:00 (Sat, Sun)
Apr 1 – Sept 30: 8:30-17:30 (Mon-Fri); 9:00-17:30 (Sat,Sun)
Tickets price: 4 BGN (Adults); 2 BGN (Students, Retirees); 20 BGN – Tour Guide /Last update: October 2016/
The Old Synagogue
Abandoned, but still caught our attention! The Synagogue in Vidin is an impressive but almost destroyed building, unused since the 50s. Despite it is only ruins, it’s the second biggest Jewish temple in Bulgaria after the Synagogue in Sofia.
The interior was impressive, with rich ornaments, several archs and two towers. Inside, there were two marble stones with the names of the Vidin Jews that give their lives for the freedom of Bulgaria between the Liberation and the First World War. Now, all of this is left to our imagination…
The St. Dimitar Cathedral
Another stop on our day trip in Vidin was the Cathedral named after St. Dimitar. It is “hidden” in a park close to the city center. I was surprised to hear learn it is the second biggest in Bulgaria after St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia- another thing Vidin can be proud of.
Another interesting fact is, that this church is one of the few in Bulgaria where you can see a rare fresco with images of Bulgarian revolutionaries – Vasil Levski, Hristo Botev, Lyuben Karavelov and Georgi Sava Rakovski.
As any religious building in Bulgaria, there is no entrance fee for the Cathedral.
The Danube River and Park
A walk along the Danube river in Vidin is also a preferred afternoon activity in the city. The park is rather small and can’t compete with my favourite Danube park in Silistra (on the other part of Bulgaria) but is also a nice place to be.
Sample Itinerary of Vidin
Vidin can be visited for a day trip from Sofia with bus or train. The town’s main sites are in short distances from one another. A sample itinerary would include:
- Starting point: Central Railway Station where you can see the Monument of the futility – dedicated to the futility and nonsense of the Seriban-Bulgarian war during 1885 in the form of a soldier with a sorrowful expression despite the victory.
- St. Dimitar Cathedral;
- Mosque of Osman Pazvantoglu with the Library;
- Danube Park;
- Old Sunagogue;
- End point: Baba Vida Fortress.
For an even better itinerary, you can combine your visit to Vidin with Belogradchik Rocks and Magura Cave and make it a 2-day exploration trip in North-Western Bulgaria. For more travel stories and ideas, visit Travelling Buzz on Facebook.