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Russian expert has misgivings about Amber Room discovery near Dresden

October 17, 2017, 15:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW

At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the Nazi invaders stripped the amber panels and all the decorations from the Amber room, taking them to the present-day city of Kaliningrad

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The Amber Room in the Catherine Palace

The Amber Room in the Catherine Palace

© Yuri Belinsky/TASS

MOSCOW, October 17. /TASS/. Reports about the possible discovery of the Amber Room in a cave in Germany’s Saxony region may be added to the collection of unbelievable stories on this matter, Deputy Director for Research and Educational Activities at the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve Iraida Bott told TASS on Tuesday.

According to the Daily Mail, German researchers claim to have located the missing Amber Room hidden in a cave in the Hartenstein hills near the city of Dresden.

"We have a full collection of unbelievable stories. Another story provided by the German researchers may be added to it. We would very much like it to be true but with each passing year, hope that the room will be found is keeps getting dimmer," Bott  said.

She added that the very idea of a search for the "amber miracle," involving researchers from all over the globe, made the museum staff uncomfortable. According to Iraida Bott, the room was moved out of the Tsarskoye Selo palace in parts and taken away by different trains.

She also explained that despite the fact that the Amber Room was still "the symbol of our wartime losses," back in 1979, the state had put an end to the pursuit.

"Before that, researchers had been building theories, hoping, studying various sources. But in 1979, a resolution was adopted that the quest for the Amber Room must end. After that, a decision was made to reconstruct it," the museum’s deputy director noted. That was when the state stopped financing search operations. Now, only enthusiastic individuals engage in any pursuit for the lost treasure.

Even if the Amber Room is found in the end, its condition will be far from satisfactory, because the "sunstone" cannot remain pristine in an underground bunker. Bott added that even before the war, the room had been in poor condition.

"We have around 100 fragments of the Amber Room in our reserves. All of them are faded, they have long lost their original pattern. Back before World War I, Nicholas II was planning a large-scale restoration of the room," the expert said.

Lost treasure

The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace is one of the most famous missing cultural treasures.

Russian Tsar Peter I received this masterpiece constructed by German craftsmen as a gift from Prussian King Frederick William I. Since 1755, the room was one of the ceremonial halls in Catherine Palace’ Golden Suite. The room’s walls were decorated with 130 panels of various sizes, covering a total of 30 square meters.

Glassed cases contained one of the largest European collection of amber items created by German, Polish and Russian craftsmen in the 16th and 17th centuries.

At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War (WWII), the Nazi invaders stripped the amber panels and all the decorations from the room, taking them to the city of Konigsberg (present-day Kaliningrad). What happened to the treasure after that still remains a mystery.

The reconstruction of the room lasted from 1983 to 2003, the opening ceremony took place in May 2003. In 1997, a mosaic dubbed The Senses of Smell and Touch and a bureau decorated with amber were discovered in Germany, which were handed over to Russia in 2000.

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