The Great Volga Way

From the ninth to the thirteenth century, the Volga River trade route played an important role in the development of the economy and culture of Russia. This route connected Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Byzantium, providing trade links and exchange of goods between these regions.

Life along the trade route along the Volga River was rich in various aspects of social, economic and cultural activity. During this period, cities and settlements were formed that became centers of trade and handicraft production. Cities such as Novgorod, Pskov, Rostov, Suzdal, Vladimir and others became important trade centers and attracted merchants from different countries.

Trade on the Volga River was carried out using ships of various types. The main means of transportation were drakkars – long narrow boats with oars and sails. They allowed the delivery of goods across the river and provided mobility for traders. In addition to drakkars, other types of mostly flat-bottomed vessels were also used.

The trade route along the Volga River was saturated with a variety of goods. From Scandinavia goods such as wool, furs, amber, tin, and iron came to Russia. From Eastern Europe Russia received grain, copper, salt and other goods. From Russia goods such as honey, wax, furs and wood products were sent to Byzantium.

The trade route along the Volga River also facilitated cultural exchange between different peoples. Contacts with Byzantium brought new artistic and architectural styles to Russia. Scandinavian culture influenced Russian culture through the exchange of goods and contacts with the Vikings.

An important aspect of life along the Volga River trade route was religion. Christianity penetrated Russia from Byzantium and became a major element of culture and social life. Churches and monasteries were built in towns and settlements along the Volga River, becoming centers of spiritual life.

Thus, life between the ninth and thirteenth centuries along the Volga River trade route was saturated with trade, craft production, cultural exchange, and religious activity. This route played an important role in the development of Russia and contributed to the formation of its economic and cultural identity.

And even now you can become a witness of this era or rather its reconstruction and immerse yourself in the inexpressible atmosphere of the time – the annual festival of living history “Great Volga Route”, which is held in the Ulyanovsk region of Russia, will be held very soon. The purpose of the festival is to recreate and show the cultural, social and economic aspects of life in the period from IX to XIII century along the trade route along the Volga River.

During the festival, participants dress up in period costumes and set up camps representing different historical periods and cultures along the Volga River. These camps serve as interactive exhibits where visitors can learn about different aspects of medieval life such as crafts, cooking, music, dance, military tactics and more. The festival provides a unique opportunity for participants and visitors alike to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the past and gain a deeper understanding of history.

One of the main events of the festival is the reconstruction of historical events and battles. Experienced reenactors demonstrate medieval combat techniques using authentic weapons and armor. These battle reenactments are a fascinating spectacle for the audience and also provide an opportunity to learn about the military strategies and tactics used at that time.

In addition to living history exhibits and battle reenactments, the festival features a variety of cultural performances, including traditional music concerts, dance shows, theater performances, and storytelling sessions. These performances showcase the rich cultural heritage of the various civilizations that flourished along the Volga River during the medieval period.

Festival “Great Volga Way” attracts participants and visitors from all over Russia and even from abroad. It serves as a platform for cultural exchange and promotes a deeper perception of history and intercultural dialogue. The festival also contributes to the local economy by attracting tourism and promoting the Ulyanovsk region as a historical and cultural center.

Through living history expositions, battle reenactments, cultural performances and educational events, the festival provides a unique opportunity to learn about life on the Volga from the ninth to the thirteenth century.

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