The St Petersburg Amber Room has been remade after almost 25 years of patient restoration. Originally a gift in 1716 from King Frederick-William I of Prussia to Peter the Great, Second World War German forces shipped off 27 panels to Koenigsberg (then Kaliningrad) and they have never reappeared. One rumour has it that the panels secretly ended up in Finland. The Soviet Ministry of Culture in 1979 took a courageous decision to assume all was lost and to recreate the original room. But amber is a prodigiously expensive building material today, unlike during the Soviet era when there was ready access from Russian controlled Baltic countries. A copy of the designs by the original artist was tracked down to Italy and this has been of inestimable value in the reconstruction process. All 56 panels based on the originals, will hopefully be in place for 31 May 2003, when St Petersburg celebrates its 300th anniversary.