Amber has always been a status symbol associated with elegance and wealth. Protected by Prussian law starting in the 13th century, the fossilized resin was used for the fabrication of religious and royal objects throughout Eastern Europe, and more especially Russia.
The Amber Room was designed for royalty in Prussia and Russia and featured a series of panels mounted on gold-leaf walls adorned with mirrors and mosaics. The room was part of the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg, Russia’s imperial capital.
The Chamber Was Gifted to Russia’s Tsar
The room was created in the early 18th century as an opulent 172sq ft showpiece chamber for Frederick I, the King of Prussia. Approximately six tons of amber were used for the fabrication of the panels. In 1716, the room was gifted to Tsar Peter the Great and was relocated to the Catherine Palace.
To match the palace’s spacious rooms, Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo was called upon by the Tsar and given the task to expand the luxurious chamber. Under Bartolomeo’s guidance, the panels were successfully incorporated into a 592sq ft room, which was decorated with more gilded figures, mosaics, candelabras, and amber.
Nazi Forces Stole the Room
In 1941, German forces invaded Russia and dismantled the Amber Room before moving it to Königsberg Castle. The Red Army seized the castle at the end of the Second World War and was ordered to discover the chamber. However, no traces of the room were found.
After decades of looking, the Soviet government decided to reconstruct the chamber by using 86 black-and-white photographs taken just before WWII and a single box of relics. The project took more than two decades but successfully recreated the Amber Room, which is considered by many to be the “eighth wonder of the world.”
The chamber is displayed at Catherine Palace in the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum and Heritage Site and is one of Russia’s most visited landmarks.
Top Greek Islands That Aren’t Santorini
When you think of luxury Greek islands, the chances are that your mind drifts to Santorini. However, there are plenty of other hidden wonders across the nation that are all waiting to be explored. These are the top Greek islands that aren’t Santorini.
The beaches here are framed by impressive cliffs. Perhaps it’s no wonder that so many people come to Lefkada to sail on the water and go surfing? Believe it or not, but this is just one of the breathtaking Greek islands on offer.
If you want sophistication and seclusion, meet Paxos. This Greek island doesn’t come with glitzy hotels or sandy beaches, but it does have thriving harbor towns and plenty of views of the glistening sea.
Milos has one of the most dramatic coastlines of all the Greek islands. Milos is still relatively unknown, and people want to keep it that way. Thankfully, the 70 plus beaches means there is room for everyone.
If you want to disappear, you might want to check out Amorgos. The local population is outnumbered by the vast number of goats on the island. At the same time, the open spaces and crystal clear sea leave plenty of time for reflection.
Corfu is a Greek island that comes packed with history, culture, and beautiful landscapes. The south of the island is filled with parties, while the north of the island has been left undisturbed – perfect for anyone looking to take it all in at their own pace.
Stepping onto Rhodes is like taking a leap back in time in all the right ways. This Greek island is filled with high-class hotels and golden sand beaches. Team these with ancient ruins, and you’re in for quite the experience.
When it comes to top Greek islands, you don’t have to head to Santorini to take in the breathtaking atmosphere and culture on offer.