Its importance is due to its command of the point where the chief trade route from Persia and Central Asia to Europe, over the table-land of Armenia by Bayezid and Erzerum, descends to the sea.
A great change followed the introduction of Christianity, which spread first along the main roads that ran north and west from the Cilician Gates, and especially along the great trade route to Ephesus.
Between 1883 and 1888 various treaties were concluded with the sultan of Aussa ceding the Danakil coast to Italy and recognizing an Italian protectorate over the whole of his country - through which passes the trade route from Assab Bay to Shoa.
The town of Coburg, first mentioned in a record of 1207, owed its existence and its name to the castle, and in the 15th and 16th centuries was of considerable importance as a halting-place on the great trade route from Nuremberg via Bamberg to the North.
It had long the reputation of being almost constantly ice-bound, but after the Norwegian captain Johannesen had demonstrated its accessibility in 1869, and Nordenskield had crossed it to the mouth of the Yenisei in 1875, it was considered by many to offer a possible trade route between European Russia and the north of Siberia.
Of Medellin, on the old trade route across the Cordillera between Honda, on the Magdalena, and the Cauca Valley.
There is also a direct trade route from Dire Dawa to the capital.
From this region started an important trade route eastward by the Thyssagetae among the southern Urals, the Iyrcae on the Tobol and Irtysh to the Kirgiz steppe, where dwelt other Scyths, regarded as colonists of those in Europe: then by the Argippaei in the Altai and the Issedones in the Tarym basin, to the one-eyed Arimaspi on the borders of China, who stole their gold from the watchful griffins, and who marched with goat-footed men and Hyperboreans reaching to the sea.
To accompany Livingstone twenty-seven men were selected from the various tribes under Sekeletu, partly with a view to open up a trade route between their own country and the coast.
From the Oxus (loon ft.) to Faizabad (4000 ft.) and Zebak (850o ft.) the course of the Kokcha offers a high road across Badakshan;, between Zebak and Ishkashim, at the Oxus bend, there is but an insignificant pass of 9500 ft.; and from Ishkashim by the Panja, through the Pamirs, is the continuation of what must once have been a much-traversed trade route connecting Afghan Turkestan with Kashgar and China.