Kaliningrad / Places We Go

AMBER Alert: The Kaliningrad Amber Museum…

Amber, that lovely fossilized tree resin, that is found in the Baltics and Kaliningrad is particularly noted for its quality… There is also a lot of it. Therefore, it should probably not come as a large shock that amber mining and the sale of amber is a big part of the economy in Kaliningrad. Given its significance to Kaliningrad, there is a small museum inside the city of Kaliningrad (the largest city and the country have the same name) that has an interesting collection inside. I’ll share some of the highlights with you…

A view of the Kaliningrad Amber Museum from the outside:

Kaliningrad-Amber-Museum

I thought this Soviet clock from 1960 was interesting. That’s a lot of luxury for a Communist official, no? As we observed in North Korea, some people are far more equal than others in such societies:

1960-soviet-clock-made-of-amber

It would be hard not to impress others if you pulled this mug out for your coffee or some beer:

amber-mug-kaliningrad-amber-museum

A diorama of how an amber mine looks… Those familiar with gold mining should recognize that this looks very much like a large placer mining operation. In both cases, promising ground is mechanically sifted for the valuable contents within:

amber-mine

Samples of amber found in Kaliningrad:

amber-samples-Kaliningrad-Amber-Museum

I thought these samples of animals trapped in amber was quite interesting… Their tragedy has been preserved for (almost) eternity:

animal-trapped-in-amber

insects-trapped-in-amber

spider-trapped-in-amber

This is a lizard that was trapped in amber – I’ve never seen anything like this before:

lizard-trapped-in-amber

The museum even has recreated fragments of the famous Amber Room, considered an “Eighth Wonder of the World”, before its mysterious disappearance at the end of World War II:

fragment-of-famous-amber-room

A print of how the Amber Room looked:

lost-amber-room

Kaliningrad is actually the last known location of the Amber Room… After being looted from Russia by the German Army Group North, it was taken to what was, at the time, Königsberg in what was, at the time, East Prussia for reconstruction and display at Königsberg Castle. Several years later, with the Eastern Front collapsing, Hitler ordered looted treasures to be moved from Königsberg.

However, before the order could be properly carried out, the civil administration in Königsberg abandoned their posts and fled the city ahead of the advancing Russians. In the chaos, the location of the Amber Room (and many other treasures) was lost.

 

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