Did you know that Baron Munchausen was a real person and worked in Russia?

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The famous fiictionalist, who shot a deer with cherry pips, flew on a cannonball and pulled himself out of a swamp by his hair, really did exist! “What a fairy tale!” you may say. And we will answer: “No fantasies, this is the pure truth.” But, first things first!

Carl Friedrich Hieronymus von Munchausen was born in Bodenwerder, Lower Saxony, in 1720. Later, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his military father and entered the service of Duke of Braunschweig-Volfenbüttel Ferdinand Albrecht II. In 1738, Munchausen arrived in Russia as an 18-year-old page accompanying the Duke of Brunswick Anton Ulrich, who soon would become the husband of Grand Duchess Anna Leopoldovna, grand-niece of Peter the Great.

There, he spent 12 years and even made a good military career. He participated in the Russo-Turkish War, entered Ochakov together with Minikh, fought in the Battle of Stavuchany, served in the Brunswick Cuirassier Regiment and then commanded its elite company - the Life Guards Company. By the way, he knew Russian well and could read it fluently.

In 1744, Munchausen was entrusted with an important task - to meet the bride of the heir to the throne, Grand Duke Peter Fyodorovich. He accompanied Sophia-Frederica Anhalt-Zerbst, the future Catherine II, from Riga to St. Petersburg. And he himself soon married a Russian subject - a native of Riga, Jacobina von Dunten.

Six years later, having risen to the rank of captain, Munchausen took a leave of absence and left for his native land. And, a little later, sent a letter of resignation. Such documents were usually submitted in person, but, for some reason, he never returned to Russia. And, for the military department, he was considered to have gone AWOL - and so he was expelled from the regiment.

He had so many memories of life in Russia that he willingly shared them with anyone who would listen. Having gathered listeners in the hunting pavilion of his estate or in the tavern, Munchausen told incredible stories about hunting for ducks, entering St. Petersburg on a sled pulled by a wolf, jumping over the carriage and a fur coat that suddenly went crazy. Apparently, among the listeners there were also professional writers - and soon his stories made their way onto the pages of books, including a collection by Erich Raspe, which made the Baron a real star. 

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