Amber Route Room with a View

Information Source: Wikipedia

Our Amber Route Cycling Tour traces one of the world’s least known ancient trade routes. Like all of our Tours it holds secrets and surprises for intrepid explorers to discover, including the many architectural delights that were hidden behind the Iron Curtain and the mystical Amber Room itself.

In Roman times, the main Amber Road ran south from the Baltic Coast through the land of the Boii (modern Slovakia) to the head of the Adriatic Sea. Its purpose was the transfer of the beautiful substance that is amber, a fossilized tree resin which often contains animal and plant materials and is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry. The Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun had Baltic amber among his burial goods, and amber was sent from the North Sea to the temple of Apollo at Delphi as an offering. From the Black Sea, trade could continue to Asia along the Silk Road, which has inspired another of our trans-continental caravans on two wheels. 

Credit: Richard Resch

The Amber Route starts in St. Petersburg, home to the fabled Amber Room, one of the most magnificent and mysterious masterpieces in Russia. Constructed by German and Russian craftsmen in the early 18th century, the original Amber Room was a complete chamber decoration that incorporated 6 tons of amber into panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors.

Photo of the original Amber Room, taken before WWII
Credit – Public Domain Russia

Sometimes called the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Amber Room was looted during World War II by the Nazis. Knowledge of its whereabouts was lost in the chaos at the end of the war and despite searches on the ground, underground and even underwater it was never found. The most likely theory is that it was destroyed when Königsberg Castle was burned down in April 1945. Efforts to reconstruct the Amber Room began in 1979 at Tsarskoye Selo (“Tsar’s village”) and in 2003 it was inaugurated in it’s historical home, the Catherine Palace, a former residence of the Russian imperial family and visiting nobility.

Catherine Palace    Credit: Ratigan

We hope you will be inspired to join us in St Petersburg this coming May as we seek to discover the many hidden treasures of the Amber Route en route to it’s finish in the resplendent city of Venice.

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