The Amber Room was an 11 foot square room that was constructed entirely of amber, a masterpiece of Baroque art. It was an extravagent gift given to Czar Peter the Great of Russia in 1716 by Frederick Wilhelm 1, King of Prussia. Catherine The Great moved it to her summer palace in Tsarskoye Selo in 1770. The elaborately carved chamber with its amber panels became a major feature of the Palace until the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. The room was looted by Nazi besiegers during the Second World War. Amber Panels were removed from the room and stored in Novosibrirsk. Later, the room was crated up and transported to Kaliningrad. The amber panels were again moved in 1945 at the end of the war. Although pieces of it have turned up in the black market, what must have been tons of origional amber have completely disappeared.
Reconstruction of the Amber Room began by the Soviet Government in 1979 and work was boosted in 1999 by a large donation from a German company. In 2000, custom officials from Kaliningrad donated 2.5 tons of newly mined amber for the restoration of the Amber Room.
In the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, the amazingly beautiful, intricately decorated Amber Room was re-opened, following a restoration that lasted decades. Decorated with artfully assembled pieces of various kinds of amber (inculding unique amber pictures). restoration of the room has involved successive generations of restorers. In June, 2003, the complete restoration of the room occured in time to have the room ready for the 300th anniversary of St Petersburg. Now at last, this masterpiece can be admired once more.
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