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Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Inside the Amber Room
Topic: Amber Room


Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the April 14th, 2014 edition of The Daily Mail. The author Sanya Burgess owns the copyright presented below. All photographs © Alamy.

Take a close-up look at the stunning interiors of the Amber Room, located in the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. Click on the link below to view a beautiful collection of 16 colour photographs. 

The Amber Room is the subject of a new episode of The Treasure Hunters on BBC One in the United Kingdom. Watch a short video in English of the documentary, hosted by Ellie Harrison, who investigates the Amber Room - a room so bejewelled with amber that it was thought to be the eighth wonder of the world - but its fate is surrounded by mystery.  

INSIDE THE AMBER ROOM 

© Sanya Burgess @ The Daily Mail. 15 April, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:11 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 April 2014 4:24 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Nazi Art Cache May Lead to the Lost Amber Room
Topic: Amber Room

 
The Amber Room as it looks today in the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. Photo Credit: EPA
 
The source for the information in the following article is condensed from an article which appeared in The Daily Mail on November 6, 2013. The article was written by Guy Walters and Tom Kelly, both of whom own the copyright to most of the information in this article, with additional information by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia.
 
Last week, a raid by police on a Munich apartment uncovered a cache of artwork confiscated by the Nazis during World War II. Authorities estimate the paintings to be worth more than $1.4 billion USD.

The owner of the apartment, Cornelius Gurlitt claims to know the whereabouts of the famed Amber Room panels from the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. 

According to Cornelius’s cousin Ekkeheart Gurlitt, 65, who lives in Barcelona: ‘He has always said: “I can tell you where the Amber Room is.” 'He has told us this all his life — “before I die, I will tell the public where it is, but not before”.’

If the claim is true, then it will shock the art world even more profoundly than the announcement of the discovery of some 1,500 artworks in Cornelius Gurlitt’s flat — whose existence was revealed last week, two years after they were discovered by German authorities during a tax investigation.

The Amber Room has long been considered the world’s most valuable piece of lost art after its six tons of amber panels were looted by the Nazis during World War II. Although it is widely believed the panels were destroyed in a fire at Konigsberg Castle in April 1945, there has never been any definitive proof of this. Over the decades, there have been countless investigations into the whereabouts of the room. One of the most outstanding pieces of art ever created, today it would easily be worth more than $300 million USD. 
 

The Amber Room after it was plundered by the Nazis in 1945. Photo Credit: Rex
 
Designed by sculptor Andreas Schlüter, it was started in 1701, and originally installed in Charlottenburg Palace, home of the kings of Prussia. But during a state visit, the room caught the eye of Peter the Great. The Prussian monarch, Frederick William I, keen to cement a union with Russia, decided to present the room as a gift to the Russian Tsar. It was moved to the Winter House in St Petersburg, then installed at the Catherine Palace in 1755. 

After some renovations, it remained undisturbed until the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite the best attempt by the Russians to hide the exquisite panels behind flimsy wallpaper, the Germans soon found the Amber Room, and tore it down within just 36 hours, before shipping it to Konigsberg Castle on Germany’s Baltic coast, where it is said to have met its fate.

Now, we are faced with the tantalising prospect of the continued existence of one of the world’s most wonderful treasures. As the owner of his own impressive — albeit secret — art collection, and with a father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, who acted for the Third Reich as an art dealer, it is entirely plausible that Cornelius might know what became of it. Last week, many more details emerged about the mysterious Mr Gurlitt, who is now missing. However, Ekkeheart, a photographer, would not reveal if he knew if his cousin was still alive. If Cornelius Gurlitt is in fact dead, then he has left behind one of the most extra-ordinary mysteries of recent times — for surely the story of what became of the Amber Room would have died with him.
 
© The Daily Mail and Royal Russia. 12 November, 2013
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:23 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 12 November 2013 11:36 AM EST
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Saturday, 13 July 2013
Amber Room Welcomes 10 Millionth Visitor
Topic: Amber Room

 

The Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum Reserve announced this week that it had acheived an historic milestone that it has been looking forward to for the past few months. The Amber Room in the Catherine Palace has welcomed its 10 millionth visitor. 

Andrei Tebryaev, a businessman from Chelyabinsk, Siberia received a commemorative plaque, a copy of the book Three Centuries of the Amber Miracle, and a bouquet of flowers from the greenhouses at Tsarskoye Selo.
 
The Amber Room opened to the public on May 31, 2003, it is now considered by many as the "eighth wonder of the world."
 

 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 July, 2013
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:47 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 13 July 2013 8:12 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Russian Craftsmen to Recreate Parts of Lost Amber Room
Topic: Amber Room

 

A colour autochrome of the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace taken before the Second World War 

Russian craftsmen in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad are to recreate parts of the legendary Amber Room, a Tsarist-era antiquity which was looted by German forces at the end of World War II.

The restoration plan by the regional government of Kaliningrad, the Russian Baltic exclave with the world's largest known amber deposits, is part of a campaign to stop illegal mining in amber-rich areas near the Baltic coast.

Experts estimate that 60-100 tons of amber is mined illegally every year in the Kaliningrad Region, which is believed to hold more than 90 percent of the world's total known amber reserves and is home to the world’s only strip-mined natural amber deposit.

King Frederick I invited German craftsmen to decorate the main hall of his palace with amber panels shortly after his accession to the Prussian throne in 1701. But after the king’s death in 1713, his son Frederick Wilhelm I put an end to the expensive work, and put the amber panels on the walls of a small room of the Large Royal Palace in Berlin.

Three years later, he gave the panels as a present to Russia's Tsar Peter I, who stored them in the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg. It was only in 1743 that Empress Elizaveta Petrovna decided to use the amber panels to decorate one of her main chambers in the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo.

The original decorations were enlarged and were eventually turned into the legendary Amber Room, often referred to as the "eighth wonder of the world."

The decorations were looted during World War II by Nazi German forces, and taken to Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad) where they were lost in the fierce fighting and air raids there at the end of the war in 1945. Only two small parts of the room's decoration were eventually rediscovered and returned to Russia.

According to the region’s Culture Minister Svetlana Kondratyeva, the recreated room will be installed in the 1899 building of the Konigsberg State Amber Factory following its renovation, which will then be transferred to the city’s Museum of Amber.

Museum visitors will be able to watch the craftsmen at work replicating the room through a glass pane.

© RIA Novosti (Edited by Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia). 15 May, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:27 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 May 2013 6:35 AM EDT
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Friday, 13 April 2012
Hunt for Amber Room to Begin Again in Germany
Topic: Amber Room

 

The governor of Germany’s Nobitz municipality Hendrik Labe announced plans to search for the legendary Amber Room, looted by Nazi Germany during the World War II, in a local forest, the Bild newspaper said on Tuesday.

Labe said the search would be conducted on the border between the eastern German states of Thuringia and Saxony. Digging is due to begin this spring.

He sited research by amateur historian Thomas Kuschel, who collected wintesses' statements about the last days of the war. He also conducted a geoelectric sounding of the area, which revealed cavities measuring 70 by 40 meters deep in the ground.

“I’m sure we will eventually find something here,” Bild quoted Kuschel as saying.

Labe is not the first German official to announce a search for the legendary treasure, housed at the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg and looted during WWII by Nazi Germany. It was brought to Konigsberg (Kaliningrad) and its further whereabouts were lost in the chaos at the end of the war in 1945.

The Amber Room is also being searched for by Heinz-Peter Haustein, the mayor of Deutschneudorf in Saxony. The search is being conducted in an abandoned copper mine in the Ore mountains, where a radar screening revealed a large amount of metal, believed to be too dense for copper.

Haustein said that the search in Nobitz is unlikely to yield any result. He added that the treasure hunting in the Ore mountains will resume after Easter.

The Amber Room is the 18th century chamber of amber panels, which was given by Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm I to Russia's Peter the Great as a gift in 1716.

The six-ton treasure, dubbed the "eighth wonder of the world," is decorated with pure amber panels, mirrors and precious stones.

Only two small elements of the room's decoration were eventually rediscovered and returned to Russia.

A partial replica of the Amber Room has been recreated according to available blueprints at Tsarskoye Selo near St. Petersburg.

© RIA Novosti. 13 April, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:32 PM EDT
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Friday, 30 March 2012
Historian Sheds Light on Germany's Amber Room Hunt
Now Playing: Language: English. Duration: 6 minutes, 41 seconds
Topic: Amber Room

A German historian has made some remarkable discoveries about the missing "Amber Room” – an art collection dubbed the eighth wonder of the world.

­Studying declassified intelligence files, Mario Morgner found out that East Germany was devoting huge amount of time, energy and money trying to locate St. Petersburg's missing "Amber Room."

The Amber Room, once located outside St. Petersburg, was designed by German Baroque sculptor Andreas Schlueter in 17th century as a present for Russian tsar Peter the Great from King Friedrich Wilhelm I. The room was lavishly decorated with amber panels, golden ornaments, mosaics, and gems.

During World War II, it was dismantled and shipped by German troops to Koenigsberg, now Kaliningrad. The room was put on display in the royal palace, but soon it was damaged by a fire and subsequently disappeared.

There have been many rumors and theories about where the Amber room went. In his new book “Geheimsache Bernsteinzimmer” (“Secret File Amber Room”), Morgner reveals previously unknown data on an East German intelligence operation called “Pushkin” that lasted for decades.

According to Morgner’s findings, the intelligence spent millions of marks to find the treasure. They thoroughly searched the mountains of East Prussia, where they thought they might find the remains of the room.

“There were about 120 locations that were opened up – old mines, depots, etc., mainly in the Ore Mountains,” Morgner told BusinessWeek. “But nothing much was found except for old rubber boots and rusting weapons. No trace of the Amber Room.”

Still, Morger insists that the room still exists.

“It would probably be a huge 3-D puzzle, interesting for art historians to look at to see the craftsmanship, but probably impossible to put back together again,” Morgner said. “The amber itself is indestructible. It can burn and it darkens with time, but it doesn’t decay.”

© Russia Today. 30 March, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:42 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 March 2012 1:46 PM EDT
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