The Famous Amber Room | Amanda Bass

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The Famous Amber Room


In 1701 panels of amber were custom-built to create what is known as "The Amber Room". The panels were to be installed in Charlottenburg Palace, then home to the first King of Prussia, Fredrich I, which was the suggestion form his second wife, Sophie Charlotte. The rooms design was created by Andreas Schlüter and constructed by Gottfried Wolfram, a master builder of the Danish King Frederick IV of Denmark. Amber craftsman Ernst Schacht and Gottfried Turau were also asked to assist in the project. The room of amber was at Charlottenburg for a short time. Peter the Great liked the room so much when he visited, that in 1716, the first king's son, Friedrich Wilhelm I, gifted the room to him. This created the Prussian-Russian treaty against Sweden. In 1717, room of amber was again gifted to the Russian Tsar Peter the Great, from Prussia, to complete a peace treaty. The amber was fabricated out of six tons of amber, structured in lavish wall sections. Tsarina Elizabeth of Russia had the lavish amber wall sections moved and placed in what was known as the first Winter Palace in 1755; it is now known as the Catherine Palace. Frederick II the Great shipped more Baltic amber from Berlin to her, so that original new designs could be completed by Tsarina's Italian court designer, Bartolommeo Rastrelli. This design showed a great collaboration of Russian and German artists and craftsmen. There were several more renovations to the room through the 18th century, so that when it was completed the amber covered over 55 meter. All of this constructions took more than 10 years to complete.

During World War II

When the German's began to invade the Soviet Union during World War II, the custodians accountable for keeping the art possessions safe, began to disassemble the room and move it to Leningrad for safe keeping. But, the amber had begun to dry through the years and became fragile and began to dissolve. So, to hide the riches from the Germans, the room was hidden behind wallpaper; however, this attempt failed poorly.


After World War II the Soviets continued to search for the Amber Room. Some believed they continued this search to hide the fact they were responsible for the destruction. Then information was found in archives reveled there were still a set of Italian mosaics found in the castle debris.

Where the Amber Room Is Today

In 1975 various artists at Latvia's People's Master Artists of Applied Art, began the re-creation of the lost "amber room". With a project of this proportion, a variety of specialized fields were called upon, ranging from librarians, archivists, archaeologists and lots of artists. This new room was recreated based on photographs taken prior to the start of the war. In 2003, it was opened for the public to view. The room had panels reconstructed by taking the images and enlarging them so the exact dimensions could be recreated. The recreated room in Catherine Palace located in St. Petersburg, Russia. Is the Amber Room that was reconstructed using Kaliningrad amber.


An interview with a former military officer stated Leonid Arinshtein, who was a lieutenant in the fifth platoon in 1945 in Konigsberg, he stated , "I probably was one of the last people who saw the Amber Room". He also stated that the Red Army did not set fire to anything in the area. "The Red Army didn't burn anything", he said. The Soviets maintained that the Germans were responsible for the destruction. However, in the 1960's the Soviet Army blew up the ruins and sealed access to the area. They began to build the "Dom Sovietov" which still remains uncompleted


In Tsarskoye Selo, a reconstruction of the Amber Room began in 1979. This reconstruction is based on black and white photos of the original room. A German company, Ruhrgas AG, donated money when the project ran into financial problems. In 2003, the gigantic work of rebuilding the Amber Room was almost complete. This new room has been dedicated to the city of St. Petersburg by the Russian President Putin and the German Chancellor Schröder during the city's 300 year anniversary.

The Mystic, the Lore, the Attraction To-Date

The Amber Room has not been seen again. However, reports continually surface stating that some of the room did survive the war and have been hidden. There have been other reports stating that it had been found in mines or a lagoon. However, as recent as 1997 a mosaic stone that is thought to be part of a set of four was in the possession of an Italian soldier's family. This solider purportedly assisted in the packing of the Amber Room.

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