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How much does it cost to enter the Amber Room?

The Amber Room is often called the “eighth wonder of the world.” You will not find anything like this in any country in the world. That is why millions of tourists come to Tsarskoe Selo every year to look at the masterpiece created from tons of Baltic “gold”. The most famous hall of the Catherine Palace attracts not only with its beauty, but also with its history, shrouded in legends and secrets. It’s no secret that the Amber Room in St. Petersburg is a brilliantly executed copy. The original decoration of the hall was stolen by the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War. Where the treasure was taken and where it is located remains unknown to this day. The disappearance of the Amber Room is considered one of the most interesting mysteries in history, the key to which has not been found for almost eight decades. The legendary interior “returned” to its place in 2003: the Amber Room was completely restored for the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. And today this hall is the personification of a real feat of Russian restorers, researchers, and museum workers who managed to revive a masterpiece of art. Address: Pushkin, st. Sadovaya, 7
Coordinates: 59.717327, 30.394686
Hours of operation: from 10:00 to 18:00 (ticket office until 16:45, entrance until 17:00), closed on Tuesday
Website: tzar.ru

History

The Amber Cabinet was a diplomatic gift to Peter I from the King of Prussia, Frederick William I. In 1717, decorative panels in dozens of boxes were transported with special care to St. Petersburg via Memel and Riga. Unusual interiors became a kind of symbol of relations between the two countries – in 1716 an alliance was concluded between Russia and Prussia. By the way, Peter really liked the outlandish decoration of the room earlier, during one of his visits to Berlin during the reign of the father of the Prussian king, Frederick I. However, then the Russian emperor did not see the Amber Cabinet in all its glory: according to some reports, he only examined the finished panels for the walls. In Prussia, the interior generally did not have the most enviable fate – it never found application, despite the uniqueness of its idea. The idea for the unusual design of the room is attributed to the German architect and sculptor Andreas Schlüter, the chief master of the royal court. At that time, Prussia was the European center of amber fishing, which gave impetus to the development of the art of processing Baltic “gold”. It is believed that Sophia Charlotte, the wife of Frederick I, originally wanted an amber cabinet in 1701. It was supposed to decorate Litzenburg Palace, the queen’s personal residence. Sophia-Charlotte died in 1709, and the Amber Room was not yet completely ready. Frederick I decided to move the interiors to another palace – Oranienburg – and change the project, making the cabinet larger. However, even before his death in 1713, the panels were never installed. And already his son Friedrich Wilhelm I, who ascended the throne, disposed of the amber in his own way. It is interesting that even under Peter I the Amber Room was not installed in St. Petersburg. The Prussian gift was put to use by his daughter Elizabeth after her accession to the throne. She wished to place her office in the Winter Palace. However, there were not enough amber panels for the designated hall, and then the interior was completed by the famous architect Francesco Rastrelli. In 1755, Elizaveta Petrovna ordered the Amber Room to be moved to the Great Tsarskoye Selo Palace (now the Catherine Palace). And here master Rastrelli again put his hand to it, creating an even larger-scale creation with new elements. The unusual and fragile material, dependent on temperature changes, required constant care and minor restorations, so a caretaker was even assigned to the Amber Room. The hall acquired its final form under Empress Catherine II in 1770: another 450 kilograms of amber were used for additional tiers and details. In this guise, the Amber Room existed until the Great Patriotic War. It was decided not to evacuate the interiors along with other museum valuables due to their fragility – they were preserved, covered with special materials and wooden shields. When the city of Pushkin was occupied by the Nazis, the Catherine Palace was barbarically plundered. This fate befell the Amber Room – the valuables were taken to Konigsberg in 1941. There, the stolen panels were even exhibited in one of the castles, but during the German retreat in 1944, the panels were again taken away by the Nazis. And now in an unknown direction. Where several tons of amber went is still a mystery. Historians, researchers, and treasure hunters have been searching for the room for almost 80 years, but it has not brought any results. The decision to restore the Amber Room was made in the USSR in 1979. It took 24 years to completely recreate the masterpiece. To revive the hall, the Tsarskoye Selo Amber Workshop was specially created, where the best art historians, chemists, historians and restorers of our country worked. The interiors of the museum were opened in 2003 – for the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg.

Interesting Facts

  • It took about 6 tons of Kaliningrad amber to create a copy of the Amber Room.
  • Two original items from the Amber Room were discovered in Germany and returned to Tsarskoe Selo in 2000. This is a stacked chest of drawers and a Florentine mosaic “Touch and Smell”.
  • The largest amber nugget used in the decoration of the room weighs one kilogram. This is a very rare piece that was purchased from a collector.
  • There are no analogues of the Amber Room anywhere in the world.

What to see

The Amber Room in St. Petersburg is part of golden enfilade Catherine’s Palace, created by the great architect Rastrelli. The height of the hall is 7,8 m, the floor area is about 100 square meters, and the decoration of three walls with amber takes 86 square meters.

In the Amber Room, all the attention of tourists is directed to the walls. You will see huge amber panels, on which decorative elements are created from fossilized resin. Notice how the most varied shades of amber have been carefully selected for this purpose.

In the center of the four largest panels are Florentine mosaics from semi-precious stones and marble. The unusual paintings were a gift to Elizabeth Petrovna from the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. The mosaics are called “Taste”, “Sight”, “Hearing”, “Touch and Smell”: their subjects allegorically depict these human feelings.

Amber panels are separated from each other mirrored pilasters in gilded frames with candelabra. And in the upper tiers you will see cupid figurines, the poses of each of which are not repeated. The walls of the Amber Room are skillfully complemented picturesque lampshade (ceiling) and typesetting parquet. The legendary hall also displays several pieces of furniture, including a preserved original chest of drawers.

The Amber Room at different times of the year

You can see the Amber Room at any time of the year: both in the cold and in the heat, special conditions have been created here so that anyone can get acquainted with the legend of the Catherine Palace. However, it is worth considering that in the period from May to October there is a real tourist boom in Tsarskoe Selo. At the height of the season, huge queues line up here, both at the ticket office and into the palace itself. Not only many independent tourists come, but also groups. The number of visitors may prevent you from fully enjoying your encounter with the masterpiece. Although the museum has thought out several excursion routes that divert the flow of people and allow people into the palace in groups. But if you want a more relaxed environment, then you should go to the Amber Room from November to April.

Where to take a beautiful photo

In the Amber Room you can easily take memorable photos on your phone, but most importantly – without flash. In addition, in the Catherine Palace you cannot take photographs with additional equipment (you need to obtain special permission for this) – for example, with selfie sticks or tripods, which can accidentally damage the interiors. In the Amber Room, people take photographs against the backdrop of the legendary panels, take mosaic paintings into the frame, as well as individual decorative elements and details. And to convey the scale of the entire hall, you can take a photo from the windows.

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