The original Amber Room was created in the early 18th century for the Prussian King Frederick I. It decorated the rooms of the Berlin City Palace – the main residence of the House of Hohenzollern. German sculptor Andreas Schluter and craftsman Cottfried Wolfram created baroque style amber panels what were backed with gold leaf and mirrors.
The Amber Room became a diplomatic gift of the King Frederick William I to his ally Russian Tsar Peter I in 1716. That time Peter I was a big collector of rarities and curiosities. He adored the Amber Room and saw it earlier while visiting the Prussian King.
Peter I ordered to move the Amber Room to his Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. It remained there until 1750s.
Later Peter’s daughter Empress Elizabeth decided to install the Amber Room at Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo ( Tsar’s Village). The court architect Francesco Rastrelli designed the room in luxurious baroque style. Finally the room became a beautiful gem of the entire palace.
Empress Elizabeth was really happy to have her “8th wonder” and managed to demonstrate the Amber Room to almost all her guests and ambassadors.
During the World War II the Russians couldn’t evacuate the Amber Room but hid it under the double wall in the palace.
The German solders managed to discover the Amber Room, dismantled it and sent to Konigsberg. In November 1941 the German newspapers announced an exhibition of the Amber Room at the town’s castle.
Konigsberg was heavily bombed by the Royal Air Forces in 1944 and the Amber Room disappeared after that.
In 1979 the Russian Government took a decision to create a replica of the original Amber Room. The work had lasted for 24 years and cost 11, 5 million dollars. Highly professional craftsmen used the original sketches and photographs what the State Archive kept.
The Russian craftsmen completed the intricate work in 2003. It took them 24 years and 6 tons of amber. The total cost was about 11 million dollars.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder opened the newly restored Amber Room and dedicated it to the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg.
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