The Catherine Palace | Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Amber Room
Probably the most famous room in the Palace is the Amber Room. The unique design of the room evolved from a gift of small amber boards and four amber panels presented by the Prussian king, Frederick I to Peter I. From that initial offering, the entire room was transformed into a unique interior that celebrates the beauty of the “sunny stone.” Although no photography was permitted in this part of the Palace, you can see from the following examples captured from a tour book that the Amber Room deserves all that has been said about it. One French author once wrote that:

The eye, unused to seeing amber in such quantities, is captivated and blinded by the wealth and warmth of the tones, which encompass every shade of yellow from dusky topaz to bright lemon . . .

While the Palace rooms are unbelievable in terms of scale, ornateness and detail, what is truly remarkable is that almost everything that we see has been restored or replicated to its original design after the Germans occupied the area in 1941, destroying and plundering many historical monuments, buildings and other cultural artifacts, including the famous Amber Room. The Red Army liberated the town on January 24, 1944. After the war, reconstruction began; many rooms in the Catherine Palace have been restored, but much work on the palatial church and other parts of the complex is still under way.


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