The first cities

Russian History

The numerous rivers running through Slavic territories served as important trade routs. In the late 8 c. the rout called «From the Varangians to the Arabs» connected the Baltic and the Caspian seas. A bit later in the 9 c. the new route, «From the Varangians to the Greeks», was established. It connected the northern countries with the Black Sea countries, Scandinavia and Baltic countries with Byzantium. Weapons, timber, furs, honey, wax and amber were brought from the North to the South. Spices, jewelry and glass, fabrics, books, bread and wine were transported in the opposite direction. No one knows the exact dates of the ancient cities foundation but most of them were mentioned in ancient chronicles. The Russian Primary Chronicle contains the names of such cities as Kiev, Chernigov, Smolebsk, Lyubech, Novgorod, Pskov, Polotsk, Vitebsk, Rostov, Suzdal, Murom and others. This is why the Scandinavian visitors – Varangians - used to call the land of Slavs as Gardarika (the land of cities).