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In the grand palace of Catherine I, the second wife of Peter the Great and Empress of Russia, there once existed a magnificent golden room adorned from floor to ceiling with precious amber, gold and other semi-precious stones. For nearly two hundred years the Amber Room dazzled visitors to the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg. But then the Nazis invaded, and the Amber Room, with its 6 tons of amber valued between $140–500 million, vanished without a trace.

The Amber Room was originally installed at the Berlin City Palace, the winter residence of Frederick I, the first King of Prussia. The room was designed by German baroque sculptor Andreas Schlüter and constructed by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram, and later by Ernst Schacht and Gottfried Turau from Danzig. When Peter the Great of Russia paid a visit in 1716 and showed interest in the Amber Room, King Frederick I's son Frederick William I, who prized his military prowess over his late father’s artistic endeavors, gifted the room to Peter to cement the Prussian-Russian alliance against Sweden.

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Hand-colored photograph of the original Amber Room, 1931. Photo credit: public domain

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.


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