Oct 21, 2017 I Brett Tingley

Newly Discovered Secret Tunnels May Contain Long-Lost Amber Room

The Amber Room is one of the great enduring mysteries of the twentieth century. The room was designed in 1701 for the King of Prussia, intended to be a display of wealth and power the likes of which the world had never seen. The room changed hands a few times among European royalty before being gifted in 1716 to Russian Tsar Peter the Great and installed at Catherine Palace outside St. Petersburg. Every inch of the room was covered in panels consisting of thousands of delicately-carved pieces of amber. The panels were inlaid with gold leaf and solid gold mirrors and the room was filled with priceless works of art and antiquities. The room has been named one of the unofficial “Eighth” Wonders of the World.

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One of the only existing photographs of the original Amber Room, taken in 1931 and hand-colored.

In late 1941, German soldiers marched into St. Petersburg and captured the Amber Room, among other Russian royal treasures. The room was disassembled and reassembled in German territory to be displayed as a spoil of war. In 1945 the Allies began advancing into German territory, prompting Adolf Hitler to order the Amber Room and other captured treasures to be removed from display and hidden. In the chaos that ensued as the Allies advanced, the priceless room became lost to history, while some accounts claim it was destroyed by Allied fire bombing. Since then, the Amber Room has become the stuff of modern legends, unsolved mysteries, and the dreams of treasure hunters. 

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The Amber Room in 1917.

Perhaps no longer, that is. A team of amateur treasure hunters believe they might have located the final resting place of the Amber Room. Leonhard Blume, 73, Peter Lohr, 71 and Günter Eckhardt, 67 have spent decades poring over government records, rumors, and urban legends in search of the truth of what happened to the legendary Amber Room. After discovering evidence that suggested Nazi treasure might be hidden in a cave complex near the Czech border, the trio brought radar along with them to see for themselves. They claim to have discovered an extensive secret tunnel network complete with booby traps and believe the Amber Room lies inside.

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The room was painstakingly reconstructed by Soviet (and later Russian) amber carvers and is now on display outside St. Petersburg among former Tsarist residences.

Details about how these amateur sleuths came to believe the Amber Room might be in these tunnels are scarce. They say a “reliable source” told them the treasure was in the tunnels, but there is some hard evidence that suggests it could indeed be a possibility. The caves lie below an abandoned railway track which used to run from Königsberg, now Kaliningrad, where the Nazis displayed the Amber Room between 1941 and 1945. Could this be the hidden location of the mysterious Amber Room? Let’s hope so. However, due to the scope and danger of an excavation, the trio is now forced to launch a fundraising campaign in an attempt to begin searching the tunnels sometime in the near future.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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