1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vidin

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VIDIN (formerly written Widin or Widdin), a fortified river-port and the capital of a department in the extreme N.E. of Bulgaria; on the right bank of the river Danube, near the Servian frontier and 151 m. W.N.W. of Sofia. Pop. (1906) 16,168, including about 3000 Turks and 1500 Spanish Jews—descendants of the refugees who fled hither from the Inquisition in the 16th century. Vidin is an episcopal see and the headquarters of a brigade; it was formerly a stronghold of some importance, and was rendered difficult to besiege by the surrounding marshes, formed where the Topolovitza and other streams join the Danube. A steam ferry connects it with Calafat, on the Rumanian bank of the Danube, and there is a branch railway to Mezdra, on the main line Sofia-Plevna. The city consists of three divisions—the modern suburbs extending beside the Danube, the citadel and the old town, still surrounded by walls, though only four of its nine towers remain standing. The old town, containing several mosques and synagogues and a bazaar, preserves its oriental appearance; the citadel is used as a military magazine. There are a modern cathedral, a school of viticulture and a high school, besides an ancient clock-tower and the palace (Konak) formerly occupied by the Turkish pashas. Vidin exports cereals and fruit, and is locally celebrated for its gold and silver filigree. It has important fisheries and manufactures of spirits, beer and tobacco.

Vidin stands on the site of the Roman town of Bononia in Moesia Superior, not to be confounded with the Pannonian Bononia, which stood higher up the Danube to the north of Sirmium. Its name figures conspicuously in the military annals of medieval and recent times; and it is specially memorable for the overthrow of the Turks by the imperial forces in 1689 and for the crushing defeat of the hospodar Michael Sustos by Pasvan Oglu in 1801. It was again the scene of stirring events during the Russo-Turkish Wars of 1854-53 and 1877-78, and successfully resisted the assaults of the Servians in the Servo-Bulgarian War of 1886-87 .