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Cathedral “St. Martyr Demetrius”, VidinCod 2661

Cathedral “St. Martyr Dimitar” in Vidin is the cathedral church of the Bishopric of Vidin. The temple is the second largest in Bulgaria after the church-monument of “St. Alexander Nevski” in Sofia.
The church was declared a cultural monument of national significance in the Official Gazette N 84 dated October 31, 1975.
The temple is located in the central part of the city in a park 500 meters away from the bus station in the town of Vidin. The proper functioning of the Christian church led to its preservation in good shape and was allowed free access.
After in 1718 Vidin became a border city of the Ottoman Empire, it started acting as a border. This means that was mandatory, for the Bulgarian population, not to have the right to live in the fortified area of the city.
Because the gates of the fortress are closed from 6:00 evening until 7:00 in the morning and the churches “Sveta Petka” and “St. Panteleimon” can not be used during major Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter, people were forced, during the late seventeenth century to begin the construction of a new church outside the Fort. The church was named Martyr Dimitar Thessaloniki. Shortly thereafter it became a center of cultural life of Bulgarians and acquires the status of Metropolitan Church. On December 6th, 1868 the church was first used, officially, by a Bulgarian prelate of the Bulgarian language. Since then, the temple has become the residence of Metropolitan Antim I of Vidin, who, after four years, was elected the first Bulgarian Exarch. On 26 October 1890 he celebrated his first Mass.
In the courtyard of the cathedral is the tomb of Metropolitan Kirill of Vidin.Due to the deterioration of the inside wooden structure of the temple, this had to be demolished and rebuilt. The funds for construction were collected from the capital of guilds and by voluntary contributions from citizens. The plan was developed by architect Bahnani. On March 10th, 1885 was officially laid the cornerstone of the new temple. The construction lasted eleven years, and was painted by Mr. Zheliazkov and in 1926 took place the solemn inauguration and opening of the temple. The Cathedral has the plan with a dome with three longitudinal and transversal naves onto which is based the rich composition. The central dome rests on four legless supports and focuses on the spatial layout; the interior spaces are impressive. The height of the central dome is of 33 meters. There was a rich and colorful image. The project was developed by Gencho Kanev along the lines of the Cathedral of Varna, which was built between 1884 and 1886. The exterior architecture is impressive. The main façade is designed having two wings tipped and two clock towers. The western gate is lifted solemnly. It is provided with a semicircular arch on columns with carved stone capitels, with stone profiled cornices, pilasters, columns couples in the corners, arched windows in pairs and threes, geometric frieze of rosettes and other architectural details.
The towers are square with semicircular domes. They are decorated with sculptures. The richest is in the shape of a diamond at the main entrance. The sidewalls are determined in a similar manner only the entries are somewhat simplified. The entire dome is divided by nervures. The drum is inside, having arched windows and a thin arch. The walls are made of bricks and stones, tin roof is given.
The internal architecture of the temple is impressive. The employment of the side galleries and of the two side towers of the main facade are a sign from the Catholic cathedral with the cross columns, made of stone (of 14m). The height of the central dome is of 33 meters. Most mural paintings are remarkable with sculptures on the balconies and crystal chandeliers.The wood carving is modernized in Debar style. Also noteworthy is the painting “King Peter’s envoys served the gifts of St. Ivan Rilski”. Their faces are represented by Gheorghi Rakovski, Hadji Dimitar, Hristo Botev, Karavelov, Vasil Levski, Todor Alexandrov.

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