Nikitin, Afanasii

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nikitin, Afanasii


Year of birth unknown; died 1472. Russian traveler and writer.

With the purpose of engaging in trade, Nikitin left Tver’ (now the city of Kalinin) in 1466, traveled down the Volga, reached Derbent by sea, visited Baku, and then sailed across the Caspian Sea to Persia, where he lived for about a year. In the spring of 1469 he arrived in the city of Hormuz and then traveled across the Arabian Sea to India, where he lived for about three years, journeying extensively. On the way back through Persia he reached Trabzon, crossed the Black Sea, and arrived in Kafa (Feodosiia) in 1472. In the autumn of 1472, on his way home, Nikitin died near Smolensk.

During his travels, Nikitin carefully studied the people, social order, government, economy, religion, daily life, and, to some extent, the natural features of India. He described his travels in Journey Beyond the Three Seas, an outstanding work attesting to Nikitin’s broad range of interests and to opinions that were advanced for his time. It is an important classic of ancient Russian literature and has been translated into many languages. The abundance and accuracy of the factual material made Nikitin’s works a valuable source of information on India. A monument has been erected to Nikitin in Kalinin on the shore of the Volga (bronze and granite, 1955; sculptors S. M. Orlov and A. P. Zavalov, architect G. A. Zakharov).


Khozhenie za tri moria . . . , 1466–1472. Moscow, 1960.


Vitashevskaia, M. N. Stranstviia Afanasiia Nikitina. Moscow, 1972.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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