Located at the border of the East and West Slavic lands, at the intersection of two ancient trade routes, Biarescie was originally a border fortress and an important trade centre. The city and the land adjacent to it were later named "Land of Biarescie". According to its level of socio-economic development and its role in the surrounding areas, Biarescie could have been the capital of an independent principality, and ancient chronicles repeatedly reported such attempts by the local aristocracy (1101, 1102, 1146, 1204, 1289). Only the existence of the strong neighbouring principalities of Turaŭ and Uladzimir-Valyński, that were not interested in separating from Biarescie, prevented it from gaining independence.