Building Series: The Lost Treasure 

21 October, 2021

The Amber Room

Imagine getting a gift like this! In 1716, King Frederick William I of Prussia gave political ally Peter the Great of Russia a truly amazing gift: the Amber Room. This marvel of design and execution disappeared into Nazi Germany some two hundred years later.

German sculptor Andreas Schlüter and Danish amber craftsman began work on this treasure, that was completed in 1716 by amber masters Gottfried Wolfram and Ernst Schacht of Danzig (Gdańsk).
Containing more than six tons of amber—a fossilized tree resin regarded as a gem— and occupying more than 590 square feet, the Amber Room was installed in the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg.
During War II, shortly after Germany invaded the Soviet Union, curators at the palace realized the amber was too dried-out and brittle to move safely. They hid the room behind wallpaper, but the Germans quite literally uncovered it. Under expert supervision, soldiers of the Army Group North disassembled the room within 36 hours. It was moved to Königsberg in East Prussia for display in the town’s castle. After the war, the Amber Room was never seen in public again, although over the years, reports have persisted that pieces of it have survived.
In 1979, the Soviet government reconstructed a replica of the Amber Room the town of Tsarkoye Selo. It is near St. Petersburg, which is the residence of the former imperial family. Based on original drawings and old black-and-white photographs, this meticulously assembled work includes the 350 shades of amber in the original panels and fixtures. It was re-constructed in its original home, Catherine Palace. The room opened to the public in 2003.
The original Amber Room has been called the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” It featured gilding, carvings, amber panels, gold leaf, and gemstones that come alive under candlelight. Modern estimates of its value range from US$142 million (2007) to US$500 million (2016).
Amber Room-Nazi Wreck
We hope you’ll join us on Thursday, November 18th for our next installment If you have a building, you’d like to nominate for coverage this link will take you to a page to make your nomination which can be anonymous, if you prefer.

The Lost Treasure

Name and location: The Amber Room
Style: Baroque
Architect: Originally designed by German Baroque Sculptor Andreas Schlüter and Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram
Original Year completed: 1716
Reconstructed: Began in 1979 and installed at the Catherine Palace, Russia in 2003