Located on the lowest terrace of the Vidin lowland in Northwestern Bulgaria, Vidin is the first large port as the Danube River enters Bulgaria. It is 200km north-west of Sofia.
The town has a port, a ferry to the Romanian town of Calafat and an airport.
Its climate is temperate continental with a cold and dry winter and a hot and wet summer.
The name of the fortress is associated with the legend about a Bulgarian Boyar who possessed large territories stretching from the Carpathian Mountains to the Stara Planina Range. After he died, his daughters Vida, Kula and Gumza, divided their father’s estates. The younger sisters Kula and Gumza married hastily and their husbands squandered the Boyar’s fortune. The eldest sister Vida never married. She built a castle where she lived until old age and successfully protected her subjects and lands from enemy invasions. In token of gratitude, the local people named the castle after her – Baba Vida or Babini Vidini Kuli (towers).
Baba Vida was declared a national monument of culture in 1964. Rising on the riverbank of the Danube in the northeastern side of Vidin, it is the only fully preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria. Through the ages, the fortress survived many attacks and was periodically rebuilt and expanded. It is the site of ancient fortifications and its history falls into several periods: ancient – 1st-4th century; Bulgarian – 10th-14th century and Ottoman –15th-19th century. Its restoration started in the 20th century.
The construction of the fortress began in the second half of the 10th century on the site of the ancient fortress of Bononia. The total area, including the surrounding moat, is 2, 3 hectares. It has a square shape (each side is about 70m long) and its corners point to the four directions.
During the Second Bulgarian Kingdom the Vidin Fortress was considered the most important bastion in Northwestern Bulgaria. It reached its maximum size in the reign of Tsar Ivan Sratsimir when more inner walls and towers were added. The Bdin feudals Knyaz Shishman and his son Despot Michael Shishman lived in the fortress as well.
Baba Vida continued to be an important defense post during the Ottoman domination. At the close of the 17th and the outset of the 18th century it was turned into a citadel of the new Ottoman Kale. In the second half of the 18th century the fortress was used as an arms depot and a prison.
The medieval castle Baba Vida has been used as an authentic background by famous film directors such as Andrzjei Vaida, Donatas Banionis, Zoltan Varconi. Episodes from popular Bulgarian movies (The Marriages of Ivan Assen, the Boyana Master, and Captain Petko Voivoda etc) were shot there too.
In 1964 a summer theater was opened in the Baba Vida museum fortress.