Another of Moscow's architectural gems dating from the 19th century is the subject of controversy.
The Finam investment company is facing allegations from former Perlovy & Co. general director Zhanna Kirtbaya that it is illegitimately taking over a downtown landmark, Vedomosti reported Friday.
Kirtbaya, who is 80 years old and diabetic, has holed up in an office in the building, refusing to leave since Jan. 25, when she discovered unexpectedly that she was no longer an executive of the company, her lawyer Maxim Kosarev said. She is sleeping on a sofa and, after building managers blocked access to the outside world, has received food and supplies by lowering a plastic bag out of the window on a rope.
Kirtbaya is refusing to leave the building without documents that Kosarev claims have historical and archival value.
In the late 1990s, Perlovy & Co. took out a 49-year lease from the Moscow city government for 1,800 square meters of the ornate 2,400-square-meter Perlov House — named after a pre-revolutionary merchant — on Myasnitskaya Ulitsa, where a well-known tea and coffee store is located.
The Perlov Tea House was built in 1890. It is decorated in an unusual (for Moscow) Chinese fashion, with bronze dragons and pagoda-like flourishes. Inside, the first floor, which is still a teashop, has lacquered columns and Chinese vases. According to legend, in 1893, the wealthy tea merchant Perlov, wanting to impress a representative of the emperor of China during his visit to Russia, had his teashop decorated in a Chinese style. Unfortunately for him, the Chinese representative is said to have visited a rival tea merchant instead.
© The Moscow Times and Royal Russia. 14 February, 2012