The history of Moscow's most famous banya began with the names Sila Sandunov and Yelizaveta Uranova, actors at the court of Empress Catherine II (the Great). After the two were married, the empress presented the couple with diamonds, which Sandunov sold. With the money, he bought a plot of land near the Neglinnaya River in Moscow. Later, he bought land from his neighbors. He knocked down all the buildings on his land to build the banya. The construction was completed in 1808.