The Amber Room


When we think of amber we often conjure up the image of the mosquito that was the basis of the famous movie Jurassic park! This modern association with amber is dwarfed by the former majesty of the Amber Room. The construction of the Amber Room was commissioned in 1701 by Frederick I, King of Prussia, and designed by Andreas Schluter. This room contains over 6 tons of amber and was built by Gottfried Wolfram, master craftsman to the Danish court. The Amber Room was originally intended for the Charlottenburg Palace but was actually constructed in the Berlin City Palace.  Years later, the Russian Tsar Peter the Great fell in love with the room on a visit to the palace. In 1716 it was given to him as a gift by Frederick’s son, then King of Prussia Frederick William I, as a token of peace between Prussia and Russia and a symbol of their coalition against Sweden. The Amber Room was then shipped to Russia in 18 boxes and installed in the Winter House in St. Petersburg, before being moved to the Catherine Palace in 1755 at the order of Czarina Elizabeth.  Most of the amber came in the form of massive wall panels backed by gold leaf, which historians estimate would be worth more than $140 million today.  In 1941 during the height of WWII, German soldiers infiltrated what was then the Soviet Union.  A large part of Nazi operations involved looting valuable artwork and artifacts from the region, which happened to include the Amber Room. Within a matter of days, German soldiers had disassembled the entire room with the help of two experts. The Amber Room was then shipped to Konigsberg Castle, where it was put on display.  In 1943, with Allied forces on their heels, Hitler gave the order that “cultural goods of priority” should be relocated from Konigsberg.  In 1944 the castle was bombed and most of it was destroyed, thankfully the Amber Room had already been moved.  To this day no one knows the fate of the Amber Room… Did the Nazis have time to box it up and ship it out?  Many conspiracy theories surround the spectacular creation that is the Amber Room, and it has been sought out by treasure hunters and the subject of numerous books, movies and articles over the years. In 1997, a group of “art detectives” miraculously found one of the room’s panels, but the owner was the son of a dead soldier and had no knowledge where the panel had come from. No other trace of the room has ever been found and to this day remains a mystery.  If you are interested in learning more about the mystery room that actually made up of treasure check out this video!