Vidin Region

Landmarks

There are 56 culture monuments on the territory of Vidin Region (archeological objects of antiquity and middle age, churches and musk from XV-XIX century as well as buildings from 1880-1925). 

"The ancient fortress of Baba Vida" – It is accepted that the erection of the mediaeval fortress “Baba Vida” had happened in the 10th century. It was built on the ruins of an older ancient fortress – Bononia. At first the mediaeval fortress was rather small in size, with the parameters of a watch-tower. Its reconstruction into a bigger mediaeval castle had happened during the first rulers of the Vidin principality and its larger expansion – during tsar Ivan-Sratsimir, with who is related the building of the main tower of the fortress. After decades of research and restoration, today the “Baba Vida” fortress is an original outdoor museum with internal expositions revealing the life customs of the mediaeval Bulgarian fortresses and important periods of the history of mediaeval Bulgaria. 

The history museum "Koluka"  – This original architectural monument was built in the mid 18th century as a building for the police department but subsequently was significantly altered. After the Liberation the Turkish police office was reorganized and enriched with elements from the Bulgarian Renaissance architecture. From 1956 the building is reconstructed for an exposition of the Vidin weaponry historical museum. 

The musk and the Pazvantoglu’s library– The musk is a massive stone structure with strictly oriental architecture. The library resembles a Muslim turban. The library had preserved many rare Ottoman manuscripts and incunabula, a part of which are kept today in the oriental section of the National Library “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” in Sofia. 

"Krastata Kazarma” (The cross-shaped barracks)" - The building was erected in 1801 and was used as a janissary’s barracks. After the Liberation it serves as a court and barracks for the Bulgarian army. Nowadays in the Krastata Kazarma is arranged a rich ethnographical exhibition, revealing the beauty and wealth of the Bulgarian national culture in the Vidin region. 

"St. Pantaleymon" church – It is situated in the Vidin bishop’s residence’s yard. It was build during 1634. Today the church is a museum exposition of exarch Antim I. 

”St. Petka" church – It was build during 1627 with the help of bishop’s leader Matey Basaraba. 

The cathedral “St. Dimitar” – The first church of the same name built on this spot was erected in the 17th century. 1868 in it for the first time a solemn service in Bulgarian was conducted by the bishop of Vidin Antim the first (who becomes the first Bulgarian exarch – elected in 1872). in July 1926 and the solemn sanctification is made on the 3rd of October the same year by the bishop of Vidin Neofit. The cathedral is the second largest cathedral in Bulgaria after the “St. Aleksandar Nevski” cathedral in Sofia. 

The Synagogue – The existing today synagogue is situated near Baba Vida fortress. The construction of the building begins in 1894. In 1950 the synagogue loses its main function. Nowadays the building is ongoing a process of restoration as one of the significant cultural monuments of the city of Vidin. 


NATURAL RESERVES 

Natural reserve Chuprene is situated on the territory of Chuprene and Belogradchik municipalities and covers the surface of 1439.20hec.The reserve is exceptionally state property, which is managed and guarded by the Ministry of Environment and Water. 
In 1977 the world organization “For education, science and culture”- UNESCO to UN included it in its lists of protected natural reserves as “inseparable part of international network of biosphere reserves, which comprises territories for evaluation of human impact on environment” by which the reserve receives international statute. The main purpose was to protect in original condition the only compact spruce forests in Western Stara Planina Mountain. Beech, fir-tree, globeflower, and many other spices are spread in the reserve. Vipers, cock of the wood, red deer, hazel hen, crossbill, wolf etc. represent animal species. 
Activities, which violate the distinctive character of nature, are forbidden according to the order proclaiming the statute of the area. 
In 2007, the buffer zone of the biosphere reserve was classified as protected area “Chuprenski buki,” which does not cancel the restrictive regime in the area. 


NATURAL LANDMARKS 

Natural landmark “The Belogradchik Rocks” - was established with the idea to protect both the unique geomorphologic formations and the habitats of rare and threatened by extinction animal and plant species. It comprises huge territory of 30km of length and 3km width in the western part of Stara Planina near Belogradchik. 
A great number of rock formations (red sandstone)had been sculptured by nature for centuries and turned into whimsical fairy forms in synchrony with the variety of animal and plant life around them (more then 23 protected plant species and over 15 protected animal species), which turn Belogradchik region into uniquely beautiful place. The developed eco-itineraries in the region create preconditions for developing cognitive eco-tourism, dissemination of natural resources importance in international aspect as well as for raising the level of ecologic culture and education. 
http://www.belogura.hit.bg 

Natural landmark Magura cave 
The cave is a natural landmark with interesting formations and prehistoric findings. It is situated on the land of Rabisha village, Belogradchik municipality. It is one of the biggest caves of that kind and beauty in Bulgaria (more than 30 000 square meters). Fantastic formations as cave halls and cave galleries, stalactites, stalagmites, stalctones with enormous proportions (up to 20m in height and over 4m diameter) in the form of animals, people, and waterfalls can be found in it. The Magura cave is also famous with its prehistoric rock drawings from the time of epi-paleolite to the early bronze era because of which the cave is under the special aegis of UNESCO with international statute of cultural monument. Similar paintings have been discovered only in three other places in the world – France, Spain and Siberia. Filled with mysterious beauty, coming from the centuries it is a shelter for protected fauna species – more than 5 bat species and cave invertebrates. There are found fossils that certify prehistoric animals - cave bears, hyena, wild horses etc. had inhabited the region. 

Natural landmark “Borov kamak” 
It is a rock formation of red sandstone situated on 1.3 hectares of land of the same name, in vicinity of Borovitsa village, which neighbours The Belogradchik rock formations. It was established as natural landmark with the idea to preserve the prominent geological and botanical sites that are places of scientific, cultural and tourist development interest. 

Natural landmark “Levi i desni suhi pech”(left and right dry caves) 
It is situated in the lands of Dolni Lom village, Chuprene municipality, with common surface 0.2 hectares. 
It is characterized with a plenty formations of karst origin, sinter lakes, cave bat colonies. The area is conserved for visitors with the purpose to protect the natural facts from demolition. 

Natural landmark “Venetsa” ( “The wreath”) 
It is situated in the picturesque site “Chukara” near the village of Oreshets, Dimovo municipality, in quarry which does not work nowadays. The rock formations give the site its exceptional beauty. The cave is preserved and it is not open for visitors. 

Natural landmark “Waterfall at the River of Stakevska River in “Byala Voda” site 
It is situated in pine-tree wood in “White Water” site in the lands of Stakevtsi village, Belogradchik municipality, on the surface of 1,6 hectares. Nested highly among the mountain nooks of Stara Planina the magnificent waterfall adds the scenery of the virgin nature in that region. 

Natural landmark "Petkov tserak” 
It is a waterfall situated near Boynitsa village. Its height is over 6 meters. The waterfall is an exception for the area and distinguishes itself on the background of the surrounding environment with its natural beauty. 


PRESERVED AREAS 

Preservation Area “Vrashka Chuka” 
It is established preserved area with the purpose to protect the only habitat in the world of plant species Eranthis bulgaricus, the only habitats for Bulgaria of the red rock rose, the bellflower, the furrowed stone flower, the long-toothed propadniche, the knapweed, peony (Paeonia mascula), red lime (Tilia rubra), Potential nicicici, Centaurea atropuvpuvala, Crocus tommasianus, Artemisia pontica and others. It is situated on the frontier with the Republic of Serbia in the lands of the village of Izvor mahala, Kula municipalities on a height with total surface of 67.6 hectares. 

Preservation Area “Chuprenski buki” 
The preservation area “Chuprenski buki” was established in 2007, by then it was the buffer area of natural reserve “Chuprene”. The boundaries and the protective regimes remained unchanged. 

Protected Area “The Island of Kutovo” 
Protected Area “The Island of Kutovo village” comprises the territory of island of the same name on the Danube River. The island is situated at the 801st km of the river, opposite the village of Kutovo, Vidin municipality. It was established as a preserved area with the purpose to protect the habitats of rare vulnerable plant species as swamp snowdrop and wade birds: Night heron (Nycticorax), Grey heron (Ardea cinerea), Egetta gazetta, Pelicanusonocrotalus, Platalea leucorcodia, Phalacricorax carbo, Phalacrocorax pigmeus. 

Preserved area “Monastery of Rakovitsa” is situated at about 4km northwest from Rakovitsa village, Makresh municipality, at the foot of peak “Chernoglav”in Babin Nos Mountain on the surface of 50 hectares, where the haidouk (rebellious) Balkan Range starts. It is proclaimed for cultural monument. 

Preserved area “Lipaka” 
This historic place is situated on the territory of Milchina laka village, Gramada municipality. In 2003, it was classified again in a preserved area “Lipaka.” 


NATURE 2000 

There are eighteen approved zones on the territory of Vidin Region in the terms of reference protecting the natural habitats of wild flora and fauna and two zones in the terms of reference protecting wild birds. 
In the region the biggest in surface and the most important in the point of view of biodiversity is protected area “West Stara Planina Mountain” established in the terms of reference for the habitations. This zone has common surface of 219 715 hectares and covers parts from Vidin, Montana and Sofia regions. The protected area is situated on the lands of Belogradchik, Dimovo, Makresh, Ruzhintsi, and Chuprene municipalities. 
Rivers in West Stara Planina are conserved in their natural or almost natural condition. In their bigger part, they follow the natural banks as the territories of the river terraces are weakly fragmentary. The prior to EU forests along the rivers from alder (almus glutinosa) and willow form one of the best galleries in the country. Rich ichtyofauna is typical for the rivers (it is an important nourishing base for good otter population). There are nine fish species, from which five are included in Appendix 2 of Regulation 92/43/EU. This fact turns protected zone “West Stara Planina “in one of the most valuable for protecting the ichtyofauna 

On the territory of West Stara Planina is established the biggest in surface for Vidin Region protected area in the terms of reference for birds – “West Balkan”. The total surface of the area is 146 820 hectares and it partially comprises parts of the territories of Vidin, Montana and Sofia regions. Within the boundaries of Vidin region, this area partially covers the territories of Belogradchik, Dimovo, Makresh, Rujinci, and Chuprene municipalities. 
There are over 60 bird species, 31 of which are enlisted in the Red book, twenty-two bird species are of European importance. The following rare animal species can be found in that protected area: black and white stroke (Ciconia nigra), Falco tinnunculus, Hazelhan; night birds, and several species of eagles, falcons, woodpeckers and many others. 

The territories of the two areas in the terms of reference coincide to a great degree. 

Historical, cultural and natural landmarks in Vidin Region

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