The iconic Yeliseyevsky Emporium, a mix of luxury bakery and marketplace in a central Moscow palace, closes after 120 years.
The glamorous space of Tverskaya Street, one of the busiest in the capital, was opened in 1901, still in Imperial Russia.
Its doors remained open during the socialist revolution, and the venue functioned comfortably during the rise and after the fall of the Soviet Union. Ultimately, however, it was the Covid-19 pandemic, along with a complicated legal dispute over the sale of the building, that resulted in the downfall of the beautiful Yeliseyevsky.
Despite the busy and vibrant past, the building was now virtually empty, both customers and inventory.
Gleb Prostakov, a spokesperson for Yeliseyevsky, told local media that the store was closing due to legal issues.
From 2005 to 2015, the building belonged to the city of Moscow and was managed by the supermarket chain Aliye Parusa.
The Moscow Times newspaper reports that in 2015, the city agreed to sell the building to the chain, but the contract for this transaction is still in limbo. The Aliye Parusa chain closed all of its stores in 2019, keeping only the Yeliseyevsky Empire open.
Although the company itself did not provide more details, analysts have speculated that the pandemic and the decline in tourism have severely affected the food industry.
Before becoming a market, the building was a mansion owned by Princess Zinaida Volkonskaya. In the 19th century, the princess received on the site famous musicians, artists and poets – including the important romantic poet Alexander Pushkin.
The place was turned into a warehouse by the Yeliseyev merchant family, who made their fortune importing wine and fruit into Imperial Russia. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the empire was nationalized.
Throughout the 20th century, in Soviet times, emporium became the place to buy rare and almost unobtainable delicacies, including caviar.