Economics in the period of city rise
The formation and further development of Baltiñ-Volga trade road – the so-called Great Volga way, that gave opportunities to trade with Vikings, played the role of peculiar catalyst that caused great changes in Bulgar society. Trade contacts between Bulgars and Scandinavians were only a part of commercial and economic activity of different nations that used the Great Volga way. Among the finds of the X century that were found in Bulgar towns there were a number of objects of Scandinavian origin. The most interesting items are Caroline swords and their accessories (parts of swords and scabbards).
By estimation of historian Iskander Izmailov, in this period alongside with big cities there became to form town network – trade and handicraft centers, trading posts situated in the river mouths (their traces were found in Upper By-Kama and By-Kazan regions). As for By-Kazan region, such Bulgar settlements of the X-XII centuries were found not far from villages Russian Urmat, Unma, Sosnovka, Churilino and Buzha. All this served as a basis for rise of a city in the mouth of the Kazan River; later this town became administrative, economic and religious center of this land.
Agriculture, handicraft and trade were the main occupation of Bulgars. Arabian geographer of the beginning of the X century Ibn Ruste wrote: “Bulgars are good at agriculture and it is their main occupation, they grow different grains, such as wheat, barley, millet and others”.
Besides, urban population was good at handicraft; they knew pottery, jeweller’s art, tanning industry and blacksmith’s work. What’s more, they could produce glass-ware and windowpane. Twice a year people organized international trading fairs.
Kazan became one of the centers of international trade, as it had trade relations with many countries of Western Europe, Middle Asia, the Near East and Kiev Russia.
A lead pendant (or seal?) with the imprint of a Czech coin of the first half of the X century (according to Pr. Y. Khaskova from Prague this coin dates back to 929-930) found in the Kazan Kremlin became a real sensation. This find proved the fact that Bulgars had contacts with countries of Middle Europe. Besides, the pendant made scientists reconsider the birth date of the first coin stamping in Czechia; it turned out that first stamping appeared almost 100 years earlier than scientists thought. In the Kazan Kremlin was also found another coin - Arabic dirham, but it is even more ancient, the scientists think it belongs to the year 908. Seems that this coin was in use for some time, perhaps it was worn as embellishment…
There are other finds as well, for instance a bronze cover plate for a bridle, a gilded cover plate of Hungarian type. There’re lots of them in Hungary, but only 5-6 items were found on the territory of former Soviet Union. Such covers were used only till the middle of the 10-th century. Finds of this type testify to the fact that there were strong trade relations between medieval Kazan and foreign countries.