Author Topic: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace  (Read 39169 times)

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Offline Dominic_Albanese

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2005, 09:02:28 AM »
Saw this and thought you might be interested...

From: http://petersburgcity.com/editorial/amber/

The hunt for the Amber Chamber
It is a tale with all the classic ingredients of an edge-of-your-seat thriller: mystery deaths, Nazis and a modern-day chase for a stolen trove of early 18th century treasure. The fate of the Amber Chamber, in reality a set of lavishly gilded panels, has puzzled authorities, historians and researchers since the final months of World War II. On May 31, the leaders of Russia and Germany will inaugurate a costly copy of the room as part of Saint Petersburg's 300th anniversary celebrations.

It has taken 20 years, six tonnes of amber and some 11.5 million dollars to build the room as it might have looked when King Friedrich-Wilhelm of Prussia gave the panels as a present to Tsar Peter I of Russia in 1716. But the mystery of the original panels remains unsolved. "I'm regularly contacted by people, mostly elderly, claiming to know where the Amber Chamber is and who are ready to tell me, for a price," said Wolfgang Eichwede, part of the scientific committee behind the reconstruction.

Not everyone is happy with the new version. "Nothing can replace the original, it was unique," said Hans Stadelmann, a German amateur historian who has spent 15 years looking for the lost panels. The last time they were seen was in 1941 at Koenigsberg, then the main town in East Prussia but now the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Nazi soldiers took the curved amber panels there after stripping them from Tsarskoye Selo, the summer residence of Russian tsars. But the panels disappeared in 1945 at war's end.

Stadelmann is convinced they were secreted in one of scores of inaccessible underground rooms below a Nazi-era building in Weimar, eastern Germany. His theory connects the panels to Erich Koch, a Nazi Gauleiter for Ukraine and East Prussia, whose collection of stolen art vanished at the same time as Soviet troops were entering Koenigsberg. Stadelmann says Koch, who was captured in 1949 and died in a Polish jail in 1986, confessed: "Find my collection and you'll find the Amber Chamber." His problem is that authorities in Weimar do not believe him. Assuming the panels were evacuated from Koenigsberg in time, other theories place them on a wreck in the Baltic Sea, in mines deep in east Germany's Harz mountains or even in some dusty corner of a Bavarian castle. And there are sudden deaths too, like that of Alfred Rohde, a Nazi official who was in charge in 1945 when the panels were put into crates. He died later that year. The suspicious Soviets reportedly opened the tomb in early 1946, presumably hunting for the panels, and found it empty.

Georg Stein, a German former soldier who was also looking for the treasure, was found dead in a forest in 1987, a knife in his stomach. Stadelmann said Stein's son did not believe the official verdict of suicide and claimed his father had been in touch with the Stasi, the secret police of formerly communist East Germany. The Stasi also spent years looking for the panels, even creating a special unit in the 1970-1980s to search more than 100 possible hiding-places. In 1997, a panel measuring 55 by 70.5 centimetres (21.5 by 27.5 inches) was seized by police from a lawyer in Bremen, northern Germany. It was authenticated by experts and handed back to Russia, where it served as a guideline for the reconstruction.

Hopes of finding the rest quickly faded: the panel had been plundered by a German soldier in 1941, long before the war's end. Of course, the treasure may still be hidden in a collapsed bunker somewhere in Koenigsberg. "But the probability is much greater that it was destroyed in the fighting in 1945," said Eichwede. "Or," said Stadelmann, "somebody has it, and they're keeping quiet."

BERLIN (AFP)


Offline BobAtchison

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2005, 09:59:12 AM »
The new Amber Room has become a major generator of cash for the palace - huge numbers of people are being funnelled past it everyday.  I am sure the recreation will pay for itself in a very short period of time.


Offline BobAtchison

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2005, 10:02:16 AM »
Amber being porous I wonder what the effect of 130 years of candle soot and hot air had on the surface of the original.  Was this patina recreated or are they going to wait for it to 'cure' with time?

Offline ChristineM

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2005, 12:26:25 PM »
Dear Bob

Firstly, I thought it was Ruhrgas that picked up the lion's share of the cost of the recreation of the Amber Room.

Judging by the rather garish appearance (sorry - but that's my impression) of the 'new' Amber Room, I reckon it will take several generations before the softening 'patina' returns - especially without the 'curative' effects of candle (or other) smoke.

tsaria

Offline Sarah1872

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2005, 01:13:28 PM »
Hello !

Here is the Catherine Palace




And this is a template (original design) for the Amber Room 1701


Offline Sarah1872

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2005, 01:17:01 PM »
The Amber Room


Offline missmoldavite

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2005, 04:44:15 AM »
Re: the patina...well nothing like the orginal....suppose it would take at least a hundred years before a decent patina could be achieved..do they still light candles and did they also do the incense burning(church incense like frankincense and myyrh?).

Wow - the original design ..in the shape of a cross....it looks rather esoteric and symbolic (for want of a better word...)?

So, who designed the original? :D I love that design!
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Offline Forum Admin

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2005, 08:57:58 AM »
First,
That is not a "cross" the room is square. that is the floor in the center and each wall laid down flat, looking down from cieling perspective, like cutting open a cardboard box.

About patina, cost of materials was much less a factor when the room was originally created and they used the finest and clearest amber for the original rooms.  It is my understanding from people who went to the workshops during the recreation that today, the Russians said flat out that they could not afford to use the very best amber like the original and were using less expensive amber.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2005, 10:19:37 PM »
Quote
Thanks for your kind words ..... Im glad the photos brought people so much joy  :)

They were the best I could get, as the room was filled with people, and being relatively small , you could not get too much in.

I would thoroughly recommend going (It took me about 15 years of wanting to before finally achieving it!) but I admit I was only there (at Tsarskoe Selo) for a few hours ... not nearly long enough... am already saving for the next trip !

Best wishes
Greg


Greg, I will join the others to say: great pictures of the Amber Room! I can't believe they let you take them - when I was there last May, we were forbidden to take photos of the Amber room. We could take photos everywhere else in the CP, but not the Amber room! Not only that, but it was also forbidden to ask why we could take photos everywhere else but the Amber room! I know because I asked, and I got yelled at  :o ;D. But to make up for that, they gave us each a free book with the pictures of the Amber Room an individual items there :).

Offline Belochka

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2005, 10:42:33 PM »
Quote
I can't believe they let you take them - when I was there last May, we were forbidden to take photos of the Amber room.


I am surprised to here that! :o

I took two rolls of film at the C.P. including the Amber room. Perhaps the dejurnaya on my visit was being nice, just as long as I did not proceed beyond the rope.  ;) At the time the room was empty of tourist groups with guides. ;D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2005, 10:49:08 PM »
Boy, they must have really not liked our group!  ;) Maybe this was a recent development though (the "no photo" rule). When were you there Belochka? I remember that I did ask the guide why we couldn't take pictures there and she said it was because the flash can ruin the amber (???). So then I asked if I could take some pictures without a flash, and this was when I got yelled at!  She even told me not to ask stupid questions!  :o  So then I just shut right up because I didn't want to be escorted out of the CP under convoy  ;) ;D.

But like I said, in the end, they did give us each a book with all the pictures we would have taken, so I suppose that was ok...  ::)

Offline Belochka

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2005, 11:15:36 PM »
Quote
I remember that I did ask the guide why we couldn't take pictures there and she said it was because the flash can ruin the amber


I was there in June 2002 and used 1600 and 400 speed film. Two cameras in tow when inside and a third unit for the outside. Many facilities did not mind me taking photos (even if I had to pay a few extra rubles, but flash in most cases was not permitted). Hence I came fully prepared. ;D



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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2005, 11:20:17 PM »
Quote

I was there in June 2002 ...


Maybe this rule came into effect in 2004 since I think Greg was there in 2003 and was also allowed to take pictures? I would like to believe that this is the case, rather than that we had been singled out and forbiddend to take photos while everyone else could!
:-/  ;)

Offline Belochka

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2005, 11:37:53 PM »
I think its very random. ;)

What was the booklet you received? I had to purchase mine, along with a larger general C.P. book.


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Offline Greg D

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Re: The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace
« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2005, 01:54:29 AM »
Hi Helen and Belochka,

It seems that the "No Photography" rule is a constantly changing reality of Russian museums !

In june 2003, I was able quite happily to take photos inside the Catherine Palace, there was even no charge for doing so (unlike in Peterhof Great Palace). To my dismay though, photography was forbidden in the Alexander Palace ... Perhaps this has since changed, as I see that some people have managed to photograph the interiors since then  ???

Sorry to hear Helen you were unable to take the photos you wanted, I will hunt to see if I have any more :)
I think its just the Russian way if sometimes they seem slightly brusque  ;)

Greg