The amber room in the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg
is often referred to as one of the wonders of the world.
This is a unique work of art of the XVIII century
with the difficult and sometimes dramatic history.
Way to Russia. The story briefly is as follows. In the first years of the XVIII century for the Cabinet of king Friedrich I of Prussia, was made carved from Baltic amber panels, panels and various decorations. The work was carried out by the German, Danish and Swedish craftsmen. After the death of the king, came to the throne Frederick William I (son), amber room not interested. However, the Russian Tsar was eager to decorate them its Cabinet of curiosities. This was reported to the Prussian monarch.
When on the way to France in 1716 autocrats was found near Berlin, Peter receives a gift of the coveted amber room. But later in Russia was that he was small for its intended space, and it was forgotten. After the accession of the Empress Elizabeth, was adapted to her official residence – the new Winter Palace. He became known as the amber room, which in 1746 was used for official receptions. Ten years later, in connection with the completion of construction at the behest of Catherine II’s new Palace, the room was moved there.
Began her latest fundamental upgrade for a hall with an area of about one hundred square meters. Changed the layout of all the details. Steel panel placed in the middle layer of the walls and separated by pilasters with mirrors. There is a new unique elements: rich gilded wood carvings mosaics made of Jasper and agate small amber table on an exquisitely curved leg inlaid amber chests of the Russian masters.
The luxury of this room was unique. In glass display cases housed one of Europe’s outstanding collections of amber articles of the European masters. By 1770 by the efforts of German, Russian and Polish craftsmen the work was completed. Updated the amber room was the decoration of the Palace, which is now in the list of world heritage of UNESCO.
Again in Prussia. With the beginning of the great Patriotic war the historical value of Imperial palaces were evacuated to safe areas of the country. However the amber room was too fragile to withstand such a move. So it was decided to panel the walls not to shoot, carefully to preserve them using fabric, paper and wool. And so they found the German officers, critics, responsible for the selection of art treasures.
Within six days the Amber room was dismantled and sent to Konigsberg. There in one of the halls of the Royal castle on display were exhibited in her amber panels and doors. In August 1944 the castle was bombed by British aircraft. Then, it was first used Napalm. There was a strong fire. However, a valuable piece, as it is believed, was not injured. However, it is Packed in boxes and moved into the castle dungeons. Where they were before the start of the assault on the city of the advancing Soviet Army.
Where to find the Amber room. Included in April 1945 in Konigsberg, Soviet troops are no boxes with the details of the room is not found. After the war, was organized search of the room. Unsuccessfully searched the FORTS of Koenigsberg, at the bottom of the German lakes, and in salt mines in different countries. From time to time there were different versions of her whereabouts. Some believed that she was burned during a fire in the castle. Others have suggested that she is in some secret vault in America.
The latest version was based on the assumption that the room was transported over the ocean on the cruiser received by US on account of reparations. It was assumed that she was on Board, sunk at the end of the war, Soviet submariners. Some believed that the boxes with the elements of the room are still in the dungeons blown up in 1969, the Royal castle in the former capital of East Prussia.
Better than the original. According to experts during several decades of fruitless search for the amber room had been in improper storage conditions. It is likely that the amber could be destroyed. Given this and other circumstances it was decided by the Soviet government of recreating the unique artistic and historical object. Part of the funding was assumed by the German company Ruhrgas. In 1981, he created a special amber workshop, which worked restorers, chemists, historians, art historians and criminologists. There was huge amount of work on the development of the project and its scientific justification. We recreated the old and developed the new processing technology of the “sun stone”, a special recipe.
Was prepared by staff of the highest qualification. We used the Baltic amber from under Kaliningrad. On the eve of the 300th anniversary of Saint-Petersburg Amber room in the Catherine Palace of national experts in full volume was restored. Today she is admired for many thousands of visitors of this Museum complex. According to people who saw the war up to this room, a modern rendition better than the former.
The myths and legends of the Amber room.
After the war they came up with many myths and legends about its location.
Here are some of them:
The amber room was secretly taken to South America and is from the descendants
who fled the Nazis
American military found the room in their occupation zone and transported it to the USA,
where she was in private collections
The US got a room in payment of lend-lease
Before the war under the control of the NKVD was made a duplicate of the amber room,
which was taken by the Germans. The original was handed over to the American millionaire Armand hammer, providing services to the Soviet government.
There are more doubts that will ever be able to discover the real Amber room.
In any case, her fate became one of the greatest mysteries of the twentieth century.