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The Amber Room was considered an “Eighth Wonder of the World” before it was stolen by the Nazis during WWII

Marija Georgievska

The Amber Room, or Yantarnaya Komnata, is a world-famous room decorated in amber panels backed with gold, mirrors, and other semi-precious stones. It is located in the palace of Catherine I, the second wife of Peter The Great. The palace is located in Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg.

Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg. Photo credit

Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg. Photo credit

 

Hand-colored photograph og the original Amber Room, 1931.

Hand-colored photograph of the original Amber Room, 1931.

Originally, the amber room was installed at the Berlin City Palace, the residence of Frederick I, the first king of Prussia. It was designed by the sculptor Andreas Schlüter and constructed by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfman. The two of them worked on the room until 1707, then the work was continued by amber masters Gottfried Turau and Ernst Schacht from Danzig.

Construction of the amber Room first took place around 1701 in Prussia. Photo Credit

Construction of the amber Room first took place around 1701 in Prussia. Photo Credit

In 1716, Peter paid a visit and showed interest in the Amber Room. Frederick gave him the room as present to cement the Prussian-Russian alliance against Sweden.

The Amber Room is a priceless piece of art, with extraordinary architectural features. Photo Credit

The Amber Room is a priceless piece of art, with extraordinary architectural features. Photo Credit

The Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 and began looting tens of thousands of art treasures across the country. The amber Room was hidden behind mundane wallpaper, in an attempt to keep German forces from seizing it. Predictably, the attempt to hide such a well-known piece of art failed. They tore down the room within 36 hours and shipped it to Germany, where it was reinstalled in Konigsberg’s castle museum.

German soldiers disassembled the amber Room within 36 hours under the supervision of two experts. Photo Credit

German soldiers disassembled the amber Room within 36 hours under the supervision of two experts. Photo Credit

 

After the war, the amber Room was never seen in public again. Photo Credit

After the war, the amber Room was never seen in public again. Photo Credit

In 1979, the Soviet government began to construct a replica of the Amber Room based on original drawings and old black and white photographs. The process lasted 24 years and required Russian and German experts in amber craftsmanship. This included the 350 shades of amber in the original panels and fixtures that adorned the room.

Original Amber's Romm remains. Photo Credit

Original Amber’s Romm remains. Photo Credit

There is a miniature Amber Room in Kleinmachnow near Berlin, modeled after the original. The miniature collector Ulla Klingbeil had this copy made of original East Prussian amber.

Immense sums were spent on both the original and reconstructed Amber Room. Photo Credit

Immense sums were spent on both the original and reconstructed Amber Room. Photo Credit

There are little original remains of the Amber Room. Before the room was lost, it was considered an “Eighth Wonder of the World”.