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