The Vikings, aside from being travellers, navigators and warriors, were quite good business people who had very lucrative deals with the Arab Caliphates of the time.
For commercial exchanges, they preferred a route that went along what is now Russia and Ucraina, which was relatively safe and inexpensive for them. In Scandinavia, so far over 100.000 silver coins from the caliphates have been discovered. These are known as 'Kufic mints' or 'Kufic coins' due to the precedence of many, minted apparently at Kufah, in Mesopotamia.
This shows that commercial relationships were organised at a large scale, and coins from places like Baghdad, Basra, Constantinople, Samarkand and Tashkent have been found in Scandinavian archaeological sites; Vikings usually sold slaves, furs, weapons, ornamental objects and wax, in exchange for these precious metals and coins that were seldom kept in their original shapes and forms.
Most of the times these metals were melted and reused for other ends; nevertheless, many coins remained untouched. It is known that Vikings and Arabs got along quite well for the most part, with the rare exception of a few Viking raids over Moorish cities in Spain, which were actually seized for short periods of time.
It seems also that travel and commerce thorough the eastern route began to dwindle as metal reserves and resources were being used-up in the caliphates. But many of the fortresses and settlements constructed along the Dniepr and Volga rivers remained, and that was the beginning of the people and nation of Russia as we knot them now. More on vikings.Related: Special offers for tourists