25 August 2013

Vidin Fortress
Buses to Serbia

This is a short one, I promise.
We went to the Fortress in Vidin (Baba Vida) this morning.  It is  is said to be the only entirely preserved medieval castle in all of Bulgaria, and having walked around it yesterday, we are inclined to agree.

VC34post1VC35post2The building of Baba Vida is tied to a legend, according to which a Danubian Bulgarian king who ruled at Vidin had three daughters: Vida, Kula and Gamza. Prior to his death, he divided his realm among the three. Although Gamza and Kula married a drunkard and warlike nobles, Vida remained unmarried and built the fortress in her city. The name of the castle means “Granny Vida”

Entering the fortress on the bridge over the now dry moat, we stepped back in time.  Well, not really, but the fortress has the occasional diorama in the rooms.  Pretty tacky, yet it gives a bit of life to some otherwise dull stone rooms.

VC36post3VC37post4andrewIt is very well preserved, and slightly reconstructed, and you can wander around three levels of the fortress itself, and even go up one of the roofed towers.  There are small staircases leading all over the place between levels, and the view out over the Danube is great.  The construction is quite large, and mainly Ottoman, but will leave you to look it up if you are interested in dates and things. What I found interesting was the air and light holes in the roof.  This suggests rooms within the keep itself that are no longer accessible.  These reminded me of the air holes in the Crusader castles in Jordan.  No doubt the entire place is riddled with tunnels, and although we could see the entrances to a few of these, we were not allowed in.

VC38post5VC39post6One other thing that still gets to us here in Bulgaria is the haphazard maintenance or care of buildings.  One section against the northern wall had been cleared for excavation work.  They had built a wooden and tin roof over the area.  This is now collapsing in on itself, and no one seems to mind that instead of funnelling rain away from the area, it is now funnelling the rain directly into it!  Mind you, from the few glimpses we got inside that section, it is now used as a garbage dump anyway!

The rest of the day was spent trying to work out how to get to Serbia.  We are not that far from the border, but it seems that the only way to cross over is to go back to Sofia.  We tried to get information on the boats, as there is a stunning section of the Danube near here, but there was no information available to us.  I am not saying it is not possible, we just couldn’t find out.  Then we looked at trains.  No luck there either.  The buses were not much better.  We could get to towns this side of the border, but no one knew if we could get a bus over the border from there, or even how far it would be to walk.

This was all very disappointing.  We could try too risk it by going to one of these other towns, then find out that we still have to go beck to Sofia, and after the fiasco of trying to get into Bulgaria, we thought we would take the safe option tomorrow.

We didn’t even get a good last meal in Bulgaria, as it was Sunday and everything is closed in Vidin.  A quick meal at the Railway Station, and an early night.

Told you it would be short.  But still the Fortress was worth it!



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