Often referred to as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World' due to its breathtaking beauty and unrivalled opulence and extravagance, the Amber Room is a large chamber within the Catherine Palace, near to St. Petersburg in Russia. From floor to ceiling the room is intricately decorated with amber panels incorporating gold leaf designs and jewelled mirrors.

 

Unfortunately though, the room we see today is not the original, but an exact copy; the contents of the early eighteenth century Baroque masterpiece being either destroyed or removed by invading German military forces during the Second World War – historians are uncertain about what actually happened.

 

Constructed by both Russian and German craftsmen between 1701and 1709, the Amber Room was originally based at the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin; but in 1716 it was given to the Russian czar by the Prussian king at a time when the two countries were allies.  Moved piece by piece to St. Petersburg and then expanded, after several subsequent renovations the chamber covered more than sixty square yards and contained over six tons of Baltic amber.

 

In 1979 efforts began to rebuild the Amber Room, the task finally being completed in 2003 to mark the three hundredth anniversary of the founding of the former Imperial Russian capital city.