Destinations \ European Russia Northern (continue)
European Russia Northern (continue)
It is believed that in the early stage of its development (8th and 9th centuries), this region was under the influence of the Vikings known as Varangians, who migrated south and began establishing trade settlements with the Slavs, along with their own strongholds. Many of these settlements were situated along the Neva River and Lake Ladoga. When the Norseman Rurik defeated the strongest Slavic settlement, Novgorod, in A.D. 862, the Varangians became the rulers of northern Russia. In the south, the Slavic Prince Kii had formed the Kievan territory. In 880, Rurik's successor, Oleg, conquered the Slavic-ruled Kiev and made the city his capital two years later. With the two areas united, the State of Rus (its name derived from the Viking word ruotsi, meaning "oarsman") became one of the largest kingdoms in the world.
The majority of this region's population is concentrated around the St. Petersburg area, where the climate is more conducive to normal daily life, in spite of frequent rain and fog. Further north, closer to the White Sea, the area falls into the hands of the real Russian winter with lots of snow, frosts and the northern lights.
For those who are interested in the GULAG story, you may begin your journey here. This area was used for many years as a desolate prison area for political prisoners by the Czars and up through Stalin.