The Arabian traders of the silk routes between China and Morocco carried diverse treasures. They also carried news and tales of their encounters along their way. The Arab traders of Baghdad were very accustomed to trading with many cultures and civilisations.
Early written records made by Abbasid historians tell of trade with Scandinavians. This written legacy sheds light on Baltic trade routes with the Mahgreb.
The Scandinavian traders were named Rus by the 9th and 10th Century traders, their height and hair colour was noted by historians of the time. The name Rus likely originates from the West Finnic name for Sweden which was ‘Routsi’. It is certain that this name, given by Byzantine and Arab traders was in reference to the Scandinavian settlers and traders. It is also likely that this is the basis of the modern name of Russia.
Thanks to the writings of Ibn Fadalan, who was a 10th Century traveller, we have accounts of many interactions with Norse men who travelled South by camel to trade amber and furs and metal work for coveted silver dirham coins. In around 921 AD Ibn Fadlan travelled north to observe the Norse people; his writings from that time are some of the earliest descriptions of the people of the region.
As the last stop on the silk route and the gateway to Europe from Sub Saharan Africa, Morocco has long been a crossroads in the world of trade. Today you will still discover goods traded from all around the world in the souks of Marrakech. All of our boutique riads are nestled within this ancient trading hub, you can still feel the art and the history of these strong trading traditions in the daily dealings of the Souks.
Experience the ongoing trade around you on a walking tour which is part of our popular Marrakech Culture Break.