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  • Writer's pictureDamian Brzeski

Gdańsk Amber Museum in the Great Mill

In the heart of Gdańsk, hidden within the walls of the historic Great Mill, is the Gdańsk Amber Museum. It is here, among modern exhibitions, that visitors have the chance to encounter the "gold of the Baltic Sea", which has fascinated for centuries with its mystery and beauty.

In this article, I invite you on a journey through the three main sections of the museum: nature, ancient art and contemporary art, discovering the richness and diversity of Baltic amber.

From prehistoric inclusions, through masterpieces of craftsmanship, to modern interpretations, each exhibit tells its own story, combining science, art and craft. Get ready for an unforgettable journey through history, culture and art, which will reveal why amber has been delighting and inspiring for centuries.

Exhibition at the Gdańsk Amber Museum

Wonders of the Gdańsk Amber Museum

The Gdańsk Amber Museum, located in the historic Great Mill, is a unique place on the cultural map of Poland. It is here, in modernly arranged spaces, that visitors can admire not only the richness of Baltic amber, but also understand its extraordinary history and importance in culture.

The museum is divided into three main sections: nature, ancient art and contemporary art, each of which presents amber from different perspectives.

The museum contains such valuable exhibits as: a lizard in amber, which is one of the most unique inclusions, and monumental amber chess. Each exhibit tells a unique story, combining elements of science, art and craft.

Nature Department

In the nature section, visitors can learn more about the origin of amber, its creation process and evolution over millions of years.

A unique exhibit is the largest lump of amber, weighing 68 kg, from Sumatra, which amazes with its size and beauty.

This section also highlights the wealth of inclusions found in amber, from prehistoric insects to plant fragments, which offer a unique insight into ancient ecosystems.

Among the numerous attractions of the Gdańsk Amber Museum, one of the most fascinating is the opportunity to learn about the mysterious process of amber formation. Baltic amber, also known as "Baltic gold", is a fossilized resin of coniferous trees that has polymerized for millions of years.

This miraculous transformation began in the Eocene era, approximately 40-50 million years ago, when abundant forests in what is now Scandinavia and the Baltic region produced resin in response to environmental stress and mechanical damage.

The museum offers an understanding of this phenomenon through interactive exhibitions that illustrate not only the long path that resin must go through to become amber, but also the unique natural circumstances that favored this process in the Baltic region.

Visitors can see the various forms and stages of resin transformation, and learn how inclusions - small living organisms that were trapped in the resin millions of years ago - constitute an invaluable source of information about the prehistoric world.

Insects embedded in amber in a museum in Gdańsk

Department of Ancient Art

The section devoted to ancient art presents works made of amber, which prove the extraordinary skill and creativity of ancient craftsmen.

Particularly noteworthy are an amber chess set from around 1690, one of only a few complete sets in the world, and cabinets and caskets that once decorated European courts.

This section shows how amber was a symbol of prestige and wealth, and how its charm persists with time.

Contemporary Art Department

In the contemporary art section, visitors can admire how contemporary artists and craftsmen use amber to create both traditional and innovative works.

The exhibits include contemporary jewelry and unique works of art, such as an amber Fender Stratocaster guitar, proving the unlimited creative possibilities of using amber.

The Amber Museum in Gdańsk not only protects and presents the heritage of Baltic amber, but also inspires new interpretations and applications of this extraordinary material.

A visit to the museum is an unforgettable journey through history, culture and art, which allows you to understand why amber has fascinated people all over the world for centuries.

Exhibition at the amber museum in the great mill in Gdańsk

Amber in culture and art

Amber, called "the gold of the Baltic Sea", has fascinated people with its beauty and mystery for centuries. Its presence in culture and art is undeniable, and the Gdańsk Amber Museum offers an extraordinary journey through different eras, showing how this unique stone has been used and valued over the centuries.

Amber has been valued since ancient times, used as an item of trade and as a material for jewelry and amulets. Particularly valuable to the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, it was transported along the famous Amber Roads connecting northern Europe with the Mediterranean basin.

In the museum you can see exhibits that testify to the amber trade and its role in the societies of that time.

The Renaissance and Baroque periods were the time when amber began to be used on a large scale in art and crafts, especially in Gdańsk, which became one of the most important centers of amber processing.

Works from this period are characterized by exceptional precision and richness of detail, which is reflected in exhibits such as intricately made caskets, jewelry and decorative elements.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, amber crafts in Königsberg and Gdańsk reached the height of their fame, creating works of unrivaled quality and beauty. Court craftsmen took advantage of the wealth of local amber deposits, creating small objects and complex works such as home altars or caskets.

The development of processing techniques, including the technique of joining thin amber plates, allowed the creation of larger and more complex objects that decorated royal courts and were a symbol of luxury and prestige.

Contemporary artists and craftsmen continue to draw inspiration from amber, exploring new techniques and forms of expression. The museum presents works that combine traditional processing methods with modern design, showing the extraordinary adaptability and durability of amber as an artistic material.

They include both jewelry and unique works of art that prove the unlimited possibilities of this material.

The Gdańsk Amber Museum is a unique place where you can experience how amber has influenced and continues to influence culture, art and crafts. The historical and cultural cross-section offered by the museum allows you to understand why amber is so valuable not only for aesthetic but also for cultural reasons.

Amber lumps in the museum in Gdańsk

Amber altar in the Basilica of St. Bridget

Just a few minutes from the museum you will find another treasure, namely the Amber Altar in St. Peter's Basilica. Bridget in Gdańsk is a unique work of art, a symbol of Poland's wealth of amber. This project, which is the result of cooperation between artists and amber craftsmen, highlights not only the importance of amber in the history and culture of Poland, but also its place in contemporary art.

Amber Altar in St. Peter's Basilica Bridget in Gdańsk is a unique work of sacred art that fully reflects the richness and tradition of Polish amber craftsmanship, which has centuries of history.

A testament to the creativity and skills of Polish amber craftsmen, it is not only a work of art, but also a symbol of national pride and gratitude.

The design of the altar, measuring over 11 meters high and stretching 12 meters in length, is the work of Professor Stanisław Radwański and amber craftsman Mariusz Drapikowski.

Integrated into the architecture of the temple, the altar harmoniously combines tradition with modernity, using the beauty of amber to create stained glass windows, figures and even dresses for sacred figures.

The central point of the altar is the image of Our Lady - Protector of Working People, surrounded by amber crowns and a dress made of white amber, consecrated by Pope John Paul II. He is accompanied by the figures of the Pope and Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, and above everything is a white amber eagle, the symbol of Poland.

This work, which is a combination of jewelry precision and monumental dimensions, is still being created. Planned extensions include, among others, the extension of vines in silver and gold settings, which will create the "Vineyard of the Lord", and the addition of fields of wheat symbolizing the Eucharist.

The Amber Altar not only decorates the Basilica of St. Bridget, but also becomes a place of pilgrimage and admiration for believers and tourists from all over the world, an expression of gratitude to God for His presence in the history of Poland and a tribute to all those who contributed to its creation and protection.



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