Virtual excursion

Polatsk. Virtual excursion

Day 5. Walk around the Dzvina

By Larysa Jackievič   

The Western Dzvina starts as a tiny spring in Tver region on the territory of Russia and flows on the territory of Belarus and Latvia and then into the Baltic Sea.

Just a moment, have a look, isn't it a piece of amber, brought to the bank of the river by the wave of the Dzvina? Since the II cent. B.C. along the Western Dzvina there had been "the Great Amber Route", and since IX to XII cc. there was the trading route "From Varagians to Greeks". The river has always connected the Polatsk lands with the Baltic and Scandinavian ones, with the countries of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, with the far away Arabic Halifat.

We are thankful to the Vikings, who by the Slavs were called Varagians, for the opening of the shortest way from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea along the Dzvina and the Dnieper which is 2700 km.

One moment, please, look, what is it that's sparkling at the water? Isn't it an arab coin — a dirham? Really, up to the XIth cent. dirhams had been the main currency on our lands. As the scientists say this money in the trade circulation between Scandinavia and Eastern Europe had compiled 1.5 billion pieces, what is equal to 5 billion USA dollars today. This money got here due to Varagians.

The main merchendise of Varagians were slaves. They were brought to Constantinopol, the greatest slave-trading center, and were exchanged for arab silver coins. Have a look, the varagian ship is approaching. What are ther bringing here? Mostly this is weapon, copper, lead and horses. From us thet want to buy furs, honey and wax.

Time flies and now it is the turn of XII-XIIIth cent. We see on the river the ships of German merchants. The era of Vikings is over, crussaders founded the fortress in the estuary of the Dzvina, which later grew up into the city of Riga and Polatsk merchants can get to Europe through Riga. The ships of our merchants loaded with different goods sailed to Riga, then to the island of Gothland and further on to the cities of Lübeck, München, Dortmund and Bremen.

I suggest that we should go now to the district of Polatsk called "Airport" to the supermarket "Friedrichshafen". In 2009 here there was set up the sign "Scales" which symbolize trade ties of Polatsk with other cities and people. But this sign also opens up the idea of cheeting in the trade. Look, on the left scale we see the weights with holes and to the right scale a magnet is attached. On the scale the inscription "Nosce modum" which means "Know the limit". Both in trade and in life we should weight on our inner scales our deeds and words.

Not far from here there is a monument to Polatsk prince Usiaslau. The epoch of his reign brought the Polatsk principality the highest success. Let's talk about this on the next day of our excursion.