Lyubsha

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Lyubsha (Russian: Любша) is an archaeological site situated on the right bank of the Volkhov, about 1,500 metres downstream from Staraya Ladoga. As was established by the 1993 excavations, Lyubsha is the site of the earliest Varangian fort in Russia, established in the first half of the 8th century, thus predating Ladoga. Its layout and dimensions closely resemble the contemporaneous hill forts of Great Moravia.

The fortress was destroyed by fire towards the end of the 9th century.<ref>Петренко В.П., Шитова Т.Е. Любшанское городище и средневековые поселения Северного Поволховья. // Средневековая Ладога. Leningrad, 1985.</ref> Constantine Zuckerman connects its destruction with a conflict (Vadim's uprising) that marked the downfall of the Rus' Khaganate.<ref>Zuckerman C. Deux étapes de la formation de l’ancien état russe, dans Les centres proto-urbains russes entre Scandinavie, Byzance et Orient. Actes du Colloque International tenu au Collège de France en octobre 1997, éd. M. Kazanski, A. Nersessian et C. Zuckerman (Réalités byzantines 7), Paris 2000, p. 95-120.</ref> The Norse name of Lyubsha is unknown.

Immediately north of Lyubsha lies the village of Gorchakovshchina, which used to be a trading post at the head of navigation on the Volkhov, near its ancient entry into Lake Ladoga. Dmitry Machinsky ranks it, along with Ladoga and Alaborg, among the most important centres of the khaganate.<ref>Мачинский Д.А. О роли финноязычного населения бассейнов Волхова и Великой в сложении этносоциума "Русь" (VIII-XI вв.) // Современное финноугроведение. Опыт и проблемы. Leningrad, 1990.</ref>

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Garðaríki
Volkhov-Volga trade route: Lyubsha | Aldeigja | Álaborg | Hólmgarðr | Sarskoe | Timerevo
Dvina-Dnieper trade route: Pallteskja | Gnezdovo | Chernigov | Kænugarðr
Other locations: Bjarmaland | Khortitsa | White Shores | Miklagarðr | Særkland
Varangians | Rus' | Slavs | Merya | Bulgars | Khazars

Lyubsha

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