Vidin has a rich history dating back to ancient times. The city’s origin can be traced to the ancient Celtic settlement of Dunonia. There the Romans built a fortress named Bononia which had a great strategic importance within the boundaries of the Roman Empire. As a result of the Avar invasion in the sixth century, the cultural strata shifted and Bononia became the center of the district.
The Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great (527-565) strengthened the fortress in order to deter the Slavic tribes. The town of Bdin entered the state of Khan Asparuh (681-701) as soon as it was established at the end of the 7th century. Later (in the IX century), Bdin was among the ten military-administrative units of the First Bulgarian Kingdom.
During the era of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, the port city was not only a political center of the northwestern Bulgarian lands, but also a commercial and literary center. The city, ruled by Ivan Sratsimir (1355-1396) of the Shishman Dynasty, was the last medieval Bulgarian capital.
With the conquest of the Vidin fortress in 1396 by the Ottoman Turks, the medieval Bulgarian state was brought to an end, but as a border area within the Ottoman Empire, Vidin retained its political, military and economic importance.
After the Liberation, the city was heavily influenced by Western modernist trends in culture and architecture. The dynamic development was demonstrated by newly built factories and active trade links along the great European Danube River.
During the Serbian-Bulgarian War of 1885, Vidin was besieged by the Serbian army, but its heroic defenders repelled all attacks and contributed to Bulgaria's victory in the conflict.