Monday, July 03, 2006

The amber room

I got this cover two years ago and at this time I made a mental note to find out what the stamps were about. And, as very often, I forgot… Recently, while sorting some of my stuff, I found it back and again was impressed by the beauty of the cover (it is actually much nicer than what the scan shows. The stamps are really impressive !). And then I decided to find out what was pictured on the stamps. My stamp catalog helped me to find out that those three stamps that have been issued the 25th of May 2004 belong to a set of four commemorating the opening of the re-constructed amber room. I had no idea of what was the amber room, so I decided to make some research on the Net and I found out a quite fascinating story.
The original amber room was a chamber decorated with amber panels, gold leaf and mirrors. It was built in 1701 and was located first at Charlottenburg Palace, the home of Friedrich I, the first king of Prussia. Its beauty was such that it was sometimes referred as the 8th wonder of the world ! It covered fifty five square meters and contained more than six tones of amber! After several moves, it ended in 1755 at Catherine Palace of Tsarskoe Solo near Saint Petersburg. The amber room disappeared after World War II. What exactly happened remains a mystery and the search for the amber room has become one of the greatest treasure hunts of all times. The most common theory is that it has been destroyed, but some people believe it has been dismantled by the Nazis and is located somewhere in private collections.
In 1979 has started a big program of re-constructing the amber room. This very expensive project ended in 2003 and the re-constructed amber room has been dedicated by the Russian president for the 300th anniversary of Saint Petersburg.
The three stamps on the cover pictures details of the amber decoration of the new room. The fourth stamp of the set pictures a mosaic.

No comments: