... Россия, India, Italy

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Varangian Trade Routes

This trip started out as a kind of the "Varangian Trade Route" trip.  However, tensions along the route of the Varangians to the Greeks, passing through Kiev, down the Dnieper river close to the Crimea on the Black Sea, obviously changed that plan.

The Varangians ran two great routes the one "from Varangians to Greeks" connecting the Kievan Rus and Vikings with the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople and a second route connecting Varangians with the Khazars and the Muslim World through the Caspian Sea.

Both routes in "Russia" began at the mouth of the Neva on the Gulf of Finland where Saint Petersburg now stands then along the shores of Lake Ladoga.

The first route was down the Volkhov River to Novogorod  then through various river systems and eventually through Smolensk, where the Dnieper River rises, to Kiev, the Black Sea and across to Constantinople.


So important were relations with Byzantium that the newly Christianized Rus under Vladimir I of Kiev sent 6,000 men to Emperor Basil II as part of a military assistance agreement. The proven loyalty of the Varangians, many of whom had previously served in Byzantium, led the Emperor to employ them as his personal guardsmen, becoming the core of the famous Varangian Guard.


The Volga River route would have passed by the sites of Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan before it emptied into the Caspian Sea many kilometers to the south.

International trade along the Volga only declined after the fall of the Khanates of Kazan (1552) and Astrakhan in (1556), when the entire length of the Volga came under Russian control. But the river kept its importance for long-distance trade—this time, trade within Russia, as well as, between Russia and Persia.



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