In 1458, the merchant Afanasii Nikitin allegedly departs from his native Tver to the Shirvan land. He has his travel documents from the Grand Duke of Tver, Mikhail Borisovich, and from Archbishop Gennady of Tver. Merchants are still with him-they all go on two ships. They move along the Volga, past the Klyazminsky Monastery, Uglich pass and get to Kostroma, which was in the possession of Ivan III. His deputy passes Athanasius on.
Vasily Panin, the ambassador of the Grand Duke in Shirvan, to which Athanasius wanted to join, had already passed down the Volga. Nikitin is waiting for two weeks of Hasan-bek, the ambassador of the Shirvanshah of Tatar. He is riding with the gyrfuscans “from the Grand Duke Ivan, and he had ninety-six gyrfos.” Together with the ambassador they
On the way, Athanasius makes notes of his walk over the three seas: “The first sea of Derbent, Daria Khvalis, the second sea is Indian, Daria Gundustan, the third is Black Sea, Daria Istanbul.”
Kazan passed without obstacles. Horde, Uslan, Saray and Berenzan passed safely. The merchants are warned that the caravans lie in wait for the Tatars. Hasan-bek gives gifts to whistleblowers so that they conduct them safely. Wrong gifts were taken, but the news of their approach was filed. The Tatars overtook them in Bogun. In the exchange of fire were killed on both sides. The smaller ship on which Afanasii was also looted was plundered. A large ship reached the sea and ran aground. And he was also looted and four Russians were taken prisoner. The rest were released “naked heads into the sea.” And they went, crying… When the travelers came ashore, and then they were taken prisoner.
In Derbent, Athanasius asks for help from Vasily Panin, who safely reached the Caspian Sea, and Khasan-bey, to intercede for the people captured and returned the goods. After long troubles people are released, but nothing else is returned. It was believed that what came from the sea – the property of the owner of the coast. And they parted wherever.
Some remained in Shemakha, others went to
At Athanasius, everything that concerns trade, a lively interest. He studies the state of the market and is annoyed that he lied to him: “They said that there is a lot of our goods, but for our land there is nothing: all the goods are white for the Berman land, pepper, and paint.” Athanasius brought the stallion “to the Indian land,” for which he paid a hundred rubles. In Djunnar, the Khan takes the stallion from Athanasius, having learned that the merchant is not a Muslim, but a Rusyn. Khan promises to return the stallion and still give a thousand gold pieces in addition, if Athanasius passes into the Muslim faith. And the term has appointed: four days for Spasov day, for the Assumption fast. But on the eve of Spasov’s day, treasurer Muhamed, a Horosanian, arrived. He stood up for the Russian merchant. Nikitin returned the stallion. Nikitin believes that “the Lord’s miracle happened on the day of Savior”, “The Lord God took pity… He did not leave me, a sinner,
In Bidar, he again is interested in the goods – “horses, kamak, silk and all other goods and black slaves are sold for sale, but there is no other commodity here.” The goods are all Gundustan, and only vegetables are edible, but there is no goods for the Russian land… “
Zhikov describes the customs and customs of the peoples living in India vividly.
“And then the Indian country and the common people walk naked, and the head is not covered, and the breasts are bare, and the hair is braided into one braid, and everyone goes about their belly, and the children are born every year, and they have a lot of children, and women are all naked and everything is black. Where I go, there are many people behind me-marvel at the white man. “
Everything is accessible to the curiosity of the Russian traveler: agriculture, the state of the army, and the method of warfare: “The battle is increasingly on elephants, themselves in armor and horses.” Elephants to the head and tusks are tied with large forged swords… so they put on elephants in armor damnable, on the elephants are made turrets, and in those turrets there are twelve men in armor, and all with cannons, and with arrows. “
Afanasy is especially interested in questions of faith. He conspired with the Indians to go to Parvat – “then their Jerusalem, the same as for the infamous Mecca.” He marvels that there are seventy-four faiths in India, “but different people do not drink, do not eat, do not marry…”.
Athanasius is sad that he lost his way from the Russian church calendar, the sacred books were lost when the ship was plundered. “I do not observe the Feasts of the Christian – neither Easter nor the Nativity of Christ, I do not fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, and living among the heterodox, I pray to God, let him keep me…”
He reads the starry sky to determine the day of Easter. At the “fifth Easter” Athanasius decides to return to Russia.
And again he writes down what he saw with his own eyes, as well as information on various ports and trades from Egypt to the Far East, received from knowledgeable people. He notes where “silk will be born,” where “diamonds are born,” warns future travelers where and what difficulties await them, describes wars between neighboring peoples…
Wandering through the cities for another six months, Athanasius gets to the port – the city of Dabhol. For two gold, he travels to Ormuz on a ship across Ethiopia. I managed to get along with the Ethiopians, and the ship was not robbed.
From Ormuz, Athanasius goes to the Black Sea on dry land and gets to Trabzon. On the ship he agrees for a golden walk to Kafa. Taking for a spy, he is robbed by the security chief of the city. Autumn, bad weather and winds make the transition of the sea difficult. “The sea crossed, and the wind brought us to Balaklava itself, and from there we went to Gurzuf, and we stood here for five days, by God’s mercy I came to Kafu nine days before Philippi’s post, God the Creator! God knows who the patron knows. “Amen!”