The Amber Room at Catherine Palace in Russia

This corner of the fabulous Amber Room at Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia, shows how the many pieces of amber are pieced together to create this marvelous room. Click on the photo above for a larger view.

According to Wikipedia, The Amber Room (sometimes known as the Amber Chamber, Russian: Янтарная комната Yantarnaya komnata, German: Bernsteinzimmer) in the Catherine Palace in the town of Tsarskoye Selo is a complete chamber decoration of amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors. Created in the 18th century, it disappeared during World War II, and was recreated in 2003.

Before it was lost, the Amber Room was sometimes dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” due to its singular beauty. Construction of the Amber Room took place from 1701 to 1711 in Prussia. The room was designed by German baroque sculptor Andreas Schlüter and Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram in the service of the Prussian king; they worked on it until 1707, then work was continued by amber masters Gottfried Turau and Ernst Schacht from Danzig.[1] The amber cabinet remained in Berlin City Palace until 1716 when it was given by Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm I to his then ally, Tsar Peter the Great of the Russian Empire. In Russia it was expanded and after several renovations, it covered more than 55 square metres and contained over six tonnes of amber. It was finished in 1755 and restored in 1830. The Amber Room was looted during World War II by Nazi Germany and brought to Königsberg. Knowledge of its whereabouts was lost in the chaos at the end of the war.

In 1979, efforts were undertaken to rebuild the Amber Room at Tsarskoye Selo. In 2003, after decades of work by Russian craftsmen, financed by donations from Germany, the reconstructed Amber Room was installed in the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The mystery of the Amber Room has been the basis for the plot of several films, books and art exhibitions.


About Catherine Sherman
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