Friday, February 22, 2008
Has the World's Most Famous Lost Treasure Been Found?
Of all the world’s lost treasures, the Amber Room is among the most famous. A chamber constructed completely out of amber and gold leaf, it was so stunningly beautiful that it was long known as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Finished in 1709, it graced the palace of the King of Prussia until he presented it as a gift to Russian Tsar Peter the Great in 1716. It remained in Russia for over two hundred years. And then it disappeared.
When the Nazis invaded Leningrad (St. Petersburg) in 1941, the Soviets tried to hide their famous treasure by covering it with a layer of dull wallpaper. The Nazis, however, were not easily fooled. It took them a mere 36 hours to take the Amber Room apart, pack it into crates, and load it onto trains bound for the German city of Konigsberg.
When the war was over in 1945, the Soviets tried to reclaim the Amber Room. But the Eighth Wonder of the World was never seen again.
Over past sixty years, there have been countless rumors regarding the whereabouts of the Amber Room. Some say it was destroyed in the bombing of Konigsberg. Others claim that it was buried somewhere in the Ore Mountains or perished on a submarine that sank to the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
But now, German treasure hunters say that they’ve discovered a forgotten underground cavern filled with Nazi gold. And they’re certain that the Amber Room is also hidden inside. Opening the cavern will be tricky, since the Nazis were known to booby-trap their treasures with explosives. So we may have to wait until Easter to know for sure if the Eighth Wonder of the World has finally been recovered.
Read more here.
(Below: Catherine Palace, home of the Amber Room)