Bulgaria's Vidin Medieval Fortress in Dire Need of RestorationTourism | July 2, 2011, Saturday // 12:52| views
The Baba Vida fortress on the Danube. Photo from izkustva.net
The medieval fortress in Bulgaria's Danube city of Vidin, also known as "Baba Vida", a top tourist spot, is in a dire need of reconstruction, according to its management.
The fortress was the capital of the Vidin Principality, and its ruler, Tsar Ivan Sratsimir, in the 14th century, and essentially the last Bulgarian capital to have been conquered by the Ottoman Turkish Empire – in 1396 AD, three years after Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396).
The Baba Vida fortress in Vidin is believed to be the only medieval Bulgarian fortress to have been fully preserved, unlike most other fortress, such as Tsarevets in Veliko Tarnovo, which were destroyed or badly damaged by the Ottoman invaders.
Its construction first started in the 9th century in the First Bulgarian Empire, on the spot of a former observation post on a Danube curved used by Roman troops. It was last used as a fortress with defense functions by the Ottoman authorities in the 18th century, and was then turned into a storage facility and a prison. In the 20th century, it because a museum, and is now one of Bulgaria's 100 National Tourist Sites.
For the past few years, the Vidin fortress has attracted about 50 000 tourists per year, according to Fionera Filipova, Director of the Regional History Museum in Vidin, as cited by Darik Vidin. In 1989, it had 120 000 tourists, while in 2000 – only 15 000.
Filipova has pointed out that there is a rising number of weddings and private parties held at the fortress, and that the number of foreign tourists, most of whom come as part of Danube cruise tours, is growing.
At the same time, however, the management of the Baba Vida fortress is still unable to raise enough money for its all-out restoration, which was last done in the 1960s.
The Danube city of Vidin is the center of Bulgaria's Severozapaden, or Northewestern region, which is the poorest region in the EU under the NUTS 2 classification.
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