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The Baba Vida Fortress, Vidin

Categories: Fortress, Students
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About Course

History and teachings
The Baba Vida fortress is one of the most significant and well-preserved historical relics not only in the province of Vidin but in Bulgaria as a whole. There are old legends referring to it. Of course, history is completely different from mythology. It spans for over 20 centuries. From the ancient times there were fortified facilities at the strategic location just at the big turn of the Danube. At the place where the fortress is now, there used to be an observation post built by the ancient Romans. It was part of the border of the Roman Empire. In the 3rd century they started building a fortress around it called Bononia. It later turned into a castle for the local ruler and the best fortified building in the city (the Kaleto neighborhood in Vidin). During the First Bulgarian Empire, the Bulgarians built a medieval building on the foundations of the roman fortress.

Cross-cultural dimensions
Construction of Baba Vida started in the 10th century and had several stages. According to the Byzantine chronicles, Baba Vida survived an eight months long siege by Emperor Basil II. The Vidin fortress was the most significant fortification in all of Northwestern Bulgaria during the Second Bulgarian Empire. It was ruled by the Shishman dynasty until 1365, starting with Shishman I and ending with the first rule of Stratsimir. Later the principality fell under Hungarian occupation and was turned into a viceroyalty (banate) of the Hungarian crown, governed by the bans Benedict Himfy and Peter Himfy. Vidin regained its independence in 1396 and that was the beginning of the second rule of Stratsimir, succeeded by Constantine. The fortress was expanded and improved. Stratsimir used it as a castle and built numerous internal towers and walls. The current look of the fortress resembles the way it looked at his time. Several buildings from that period have been preserved today, including the towers and the wall at the Danube. During the Ottoman rule after 1419, the principality was turned into a sanjak, governed by a sanjakbey. In 1864 there was an administrative reform and the Vidin sanjak was converted into a pashaluk. Soon, after another reform, the pashaluk was eliminated and the territory was included in the Danubian wilayah. During the Ottoman rule, the Baba Vida fortress was an important defensive facility with a barracks and battlements. In the end of the 18th century it began to be used for weapons and food storage. It also served as a prison. After the liberation in 1876, it became military property and outsider access was banned.

Useful information:
recommended for all; unique; does not require prior knowledge; accessible;

The museum is situated at the riverbank of the Danube, in the By-river park. There are designative signs leading to the fortress. Such ones are placed even before the entrance of Vidin. Human resources, assistancelimited. Accessibility (for disabled) , preparedness of the staffnot accessible for wheelchairs. Infrastructure, staff, safety measures, languages : The curators conduct lectures only in Bulgarian language. Organizing of tourist trips along the landmarks with a tour guide. Development of tourist programs, tours, packages, their realization and distributionavailable

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What Will You Learn?

  • history, influence of neoghbouring countries, war and the country's rule, knowledge of legends and mythology

Course Content

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