The first mention of Polotsk in written sources refers to the year 862.The area of the city's territory was more than 8 hectares and included an ancient settlement that was re-colonized by Krivichi in the 8th century. From the name of the river Polota occurred a name of the city, which in translation from the Baltic dialects means “dark water”, “swamp”.
In the second half of the 10th century Polotsk became the capital of the first state formation in the territory of modern Belarus. At the head of the Polotsk princedom was Prince Rogvolod. His grandson Izyaslav, the son of Polotsk princess Rogneda and Kiev prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich, became the founder of Polotsk princely dynasty. The beginning of the spread of Christianity in the territory of the Principality of Polotsk is associated with the names of Izyaslav and Rogneda.
The main occupation of the locals, which is about 4-5 thousand people, was craft and trade. The oldest traditions of the craft in Polotsk were forge and foundry, as well as jeweler's craftsmanship: there were about 60 craft specialties by the end of the 11th century. The main trade route of the region was the Western Dvina. Polotsk had trade links with Scandinavia, the northern and southern principalities of Russia, as well as the cities of the Northern Black Sea Region.