Moscow, Feb 4 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A historic steam-bath building in Moscow has been demolished by developers without permission, a heritage preservation group said.
A contractor company, identified by the city administration as Elit Massiv, began unauthorised demolition work at the site of the Mozhaiskiye Bani (or Mozhaisk Saunas) late last month.
The demolition began despite an order from city inspectors to stop, and a fine of 200,000 rubles (around $6,700), the Arkhnadzor preservation group said.
"As of today, the building has been completely demolished," Arkhnadzor's Natalia Samover said.
The city department responsible for oversight of Moscow's historic buildings could not be immediately reached for comment.
Built in 1953, the Mozhaiskiye Bani was a popular place for Muscovites to go to the sauna and do their laundry, but was shut down in 1995 for reconstruction.
In December, the city district's assembly petitioned for the brick building, located in a specially-protected zone, to be listed as a city cultural heritage site.
According to documents obtained by Arkhnadzor, the demolished building will be replaced with a 17-storey apartment hotel complex with 72 rooms.