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Baba Vida Fortress

The Baba Vida Fortress is hailed as one of the most – if not actually the most – well-preserved medieval castles in Bulgaria. Located in the northwest of the country, the Baba Vida Fortress was first built in the 10th century atop the ruins of the Roman watchtower of Bononia, itself built in the 1st century AD on the remains of a Thracian settlement. As the central defensive mechanism of Vidin, the Baba Vida Fortress withstood various attacks and sieges – such as by the Byzantine forces of Basil II.

Conversely, it has also been captured by different armies including the Hungarians and the Ottomans, the latter of whom used it as a munitions store and prison. In the fourteenth century, it also played the role of royal residence of Tsar Ivan Stratsimir. Over the course of its existence, the Baba Vida Fortress been built and rebuilt on many occasions, with elements of its past visible throughout. Today, this restored site and museum has a main courtyard surrounded by an inner and outer wall as well as four towers. The name “Baba Vida” refers to a legend about three Bulgarian sister princesses, two of whom married rashly and wasted their inheritances while the third – Vida – remained single and built the castle.