Vorontsov Estate

One of the best aspects to visiting your place of birth is discovering hidden gems that were nearby all along. Checking out the Vorontsov Estate (Vorontsovky Park) today proved to be such a case. This is a late 18th-century complex that was destroyed in the fires during the Napoleonic wars and subsequently rebuilt.

I grew up quite close to this area of Moscow, but had no idea that the place even existed. In fact, military buffs should recognize this estate as the location of a secret factory, where German inventor Franz Leppich attempted to build a war dirigible(!) in 1812, albeit unsuccessfully (else this would've been the first example of primitive bombing from air). I think it is safe to add this find to my list of badassery!

Whereas Vorontsovsky Park's history was a surprise--to me, at least--the subject matter of today's photoshoot was not. After all, I came across a few inquisitive Eurasian crows (hooded grey-and-black ones) which I just had to stalk. Yes, I photograph wildlife even in one of the biggest cities in the world! Of course, chasing vorony (crows) in Vorontsov Park was wholeheartedly approved by Carl Jung! (See what I did there?!) A number of colorful personalities that could only be Slavic also made the cut. Perhaps, I would be able to collect enough images to apply to the annual Best of Russia competition. 

Oh, and sorry about the iPad-shot candids below.