Spafarii, Nikolai

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Spafarii, Nikolai Gavrilovich


(Nicolae Spätarul Miles-cu). Born 1636, in Milesti, in present-day Rumania; died 1708. Rumanian scholar and diplomat.

The son of a boyar, Spafarii studied in Constantinople (Istanbul) and Padua. From 1653 to 1661 he was in government service under Moldavian and Walachian rulers and undertook diplomatic missions in Constantinople (1660–64), Stockholm (1666), and Paris (1667–68). Spafarii supported close political relations between Moldavia and Russia. In 1671 he was sent by the patriarch of Jerusalem, Dositheos, to Moscow. He remained in Russia, serving as translator to the Posol’skii Prikaz (Foreign Office). He also wrote a number of historical and religious works.

From 1675 to 1678, Spafarii headed the Russian embassy in Peking; the negotiations he conducted from May to August 1676 proved unsuccessful. On returning to Moscow, he took part in negotiations with Moldavia and Walachia, and in 1695 he participated in Peter I’s Azov campaign.

Spafarii drew on material in his travel diary to write a description of rivers and other natural features in Siberia.


Opisanie pervyia chasti vselennyia, imenuemoi Azii, v nei zhe sosloit Kitaiskoe gosudarstvo s prochimi ego gorody i provintsii. Kazan, 1910.
Sibir’ i Kitai. Kishinev, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.