Vidin, Bulgaria

Name | Geography | History | Hungarian occupation | The Ottomans | Modern rule | Population | Ethnic, linguistic and religious composition | Economy : Tourist Industry | Transport | Landmarks | Sport

🇧🇬 Vidin 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 Metropolitan Vidin. An agricultural and trade centre, Vidin has a fertile hinterland renowned for its wines.

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Name The name is archaically spelled as Widdin in English. Its older form Dunonia meant "fortified hill" in Celtic with the dun element found frequently in Celtic place names.

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Geography 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.

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History Vidin emerged at the place of an old Celtic settlement known as Dunonia. The settlement evolved into a 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. Similarly, Anna Komnene refers to it as Vidynē (Βιδύνη) in the Alexiad.

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 centre 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.

By early 1290s Serbia expanded towards the vicinity of Vidin. Threatened by Serbian expansion, Shishman failed to repel the brothers forces, and accepted Serbian suzerainty. In practice, Shishman continued to be largely independent and dealt mainly with Bulgaria. Serbian suzerainty lasted until Serbian king Stefan Milutin´s death, in 1321. As Milutin left no testament, after his death, in Serbia occurred a period of civil war with Stefan Dečanski, Stefan Konstantin and Stefan Vladislav II fighting for power. Shishman took advantage of this situation, set free from Serbian rule, and returned to the Bulgarian sphere. In 1323 Shishman was chosen to be the Bulgarian tsar. Shishman made an anti-Serbian treaty with the Byzantines, however, after Serbian victory over Bulgarians in the Battle of Velbazhd in 1330, Bulgaria lay militarily crippled and politically subordinated to Serbia's interests.

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).

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Hungarian occupation 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, the Second Bulgarian empire drove out the Hungarian military, but in 1396 Vidin was occupied by a foreign force again this time being the Ottoman Empire under Bayezid I after the Battle of Nicopolis.

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The Ottomans The Ottomans went on to conquer the despotates of Dobrudzha, Prilep and Velbazhd as well. Vidin's independence did not last long. In 1396, the Ottomans invaded and turned Vidin into a sandjak.

In the late years of Ottoman rule, Vidin was the centre of Ottoman 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 of 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.

In 1859 the English traveler Samuel Baker happened to visit Vidin and spotted the 14-year old Florence Barbara Maria von Sass from Transylvania (then in Hungary now in Romania) being sold into slavery, by some accounts destined to be owned by the Pasha of Vidin. Baker bribed her guards and took her with him, she eventually became Florence Baker, his wife and partner in the exploration of Africa.

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Modern rule During the Serbo-Bulgarian War (1885), the town was besieged by a Serbian army.

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Population Vidin is the 20th town by population in Bulgaria, but serious demographic problems have been experienced in the area during the last two decades. The number of the residents of the city reached its peak between 1988 and 1991 when the population exceeded 65,000. As of 2011, the town had a population of 48,071 inhabitants and 40,422 inhabitants as of 2021. The following table presents the change of the population after 1887.

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Ethnic, linguistic and religious composition According to the latest 2011 census data, the individuals declared their ethnic identity were distributed as follows: • Bulgarians: (91.8%) • Roma: (7.5%) • Turks: (0.1%) • Others: 199 (0.4%) • Indefinable: (0.6%) • Undeclared: (7.6.

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Economy: Tourist Industry Vidin maintains two well-preserved medieval fortresses, Baba Vida and Kaleto, as well as many old Orthodox churches such as St Pantaleimon, St Petka (both 17th century), and St Dimitar (Demetrius of Thessaloniki) (19th century), the Vidin Synagogue (1894), the Osman Pazvantoğlu Mosque and library, the late 18th-century Turkish ruler of north-western Bulgaria, the Krastata Kazarma of 1798, and a number of old Renaissance buildings. Also remarkable is the theatre building which was the first Bulgarian theatre in "European model" and was built in 1891. The Vidin Synagogue built in 1894 was in 2021 a shell of its former self; plans are made to turn it into an interfaith cultural center; the Jews of Vidin number about a dozen

Another tourist attraction in the Vidin area is the town of Belogradchik, famous for its unique and impressive rock formations, the Belogradchik Rocks and the medieval Belogradchik Fortress and also the nearby Magura Cave with its beautiful prehistoric cave paintings.

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Transport In Vidin is a border-station to neighbouring Romania via the Danube river. It was operated by ferryboats only until 14 June 2013 when the Vidin–Calafat Bridge opened. Crossing by ferry was possible only every 1⁄2 hour with just five trucks per ferry. Ticket prices were €50 per truck and €12 per car.

The city has a regional airport (Vidin Airport, ICAO code LBVD) a few km to the north-west; as of 2000, there is no scheduled passenger service, and the buildings are in a state of disrepair. There are, however, state development plans to rebuild and restore the activity of Vidin airport.

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Landmarks Close to the town lies a powerful medium wave broadcasting station (since 1973) whose signals can be easily received throughout Europe. It works on 576 khz with a power of 500 kW. For transmission on 576 kHz a 259-metre-tall (850 ft) guyed mast equipped with a cage antenna at its lower part is used. A powerful FM transmitter on 88.2 MHz provides good coverage for Hristo Botev radio. Also, Horizont and Radio Vidin are broadcast on 102.3 and 103.9 MHz with similar coverage to Hristo Botev

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Sport The football team of the town (FC Bdin) was established in 1923.

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Sofia Time 
Sofia Time
Image: Adobe Stock dudlajzov #414700052

Vidin has a population of over 47,030 people. Vidin also forms the centre of the wider Vidin Province which has a population of over 108,067 people.

To set up a UBI Lab for Vidin see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Vidin has links with:

🇷🇴 Calafat, Romania 🇲🇰 Debar, North Macedonia 🇩🇪 Deggendorf, Germany 🇹🇷 Demre, Turkey 🇭🇺 Hódmezővásárhely, Hungary 🇮🇹 Lecco, Italy 🇺🇦 Rivne, Ukraine 🇩🇪 Ulm, Germany 🇺🇸 West Carrollton, USA 🇷🇸 Zaječar, Serbia
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

Antipodal to Vidin is: -157.115,-43.997

Locations Near: Vidin 22.8849,43.9973

🇷🇸 Zaječar 22.3,43.917 d: 47.7  

🇧🇬 Montana 23.237,43.414 d: 70.8  

🇷🇸 Bor 22.099,44.079 d: 63.5  

🇷🇸 Pirot 22.588,43.158 d: 96.3  

🇷🇴 Craiova 23.814,44.325 d: 82.5  

🇷🇺 Dimitrovgrad 22.778,43.015 d: 109.6  

🇧🇬 Vratsa 23.56,43.211 d: 103  

🇷🇴 Târgu Jiu 23.267,45.033 d: 119.1  

🇷🇸 Niš 21.91,43.32 d: 108.7  

🇷🇸 Leskovac 21.95,43 d: 134.1  

Antipodal to: Vidin -157.115,-43.997

🇵🇫 Papeete -149.566,-17.537 d: 16989  

🇹🇴 Nuku'alofa -175.216,-21.136 d: 16974.3  

🇦🇸 Pago Pago -170.701,-14.279 d: 16467.9  

🇼🇸 Apia -171.76,-13.833 d: 16383.5  

🇺🇸 Hilo -155.089,19.725 d: 12926.4  

🇺🇸 Maui -156.446,20.72 d: 12818.5  

🇺🇸 Maui County -156.617,20.868 d: 12802.2  

🇺🇸 Kahului -156.466,20.891 d: 12799.5  

🇺🇸 Wailuku -156.505,20.894 d: 12799.3  

🇺🇸 Honolulu -157.85,21.3 d: 12754  

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