Amber is the only semi-precious stone, that can be found in Lithuania, and tourists from all over the world are eager to see the collection of this solar treasure. Everyone who goes to Lithuania, should bear in mind that there are two museums of amber in this country.
It is well known that amber is a "frozen" pitch of the pine trees. Why is it considered to be a stone, and - more than that - the precious stone, and why it will not appear in any area with the coniferous forests and the sea? Because fifty million years ago in the area, that is now Sweden and the Baltic countries the pines were growing in a warmer and much more humid climate. They were producing much more resin than the modern pines. Caught in the soil, the drops of resin hardened, and then they were washed out to the sea, where the chemical elements of resin reacted with the potassium-rich silt waters. Now there are no such a pines, that would be similar to those ancient species, with the properties close to those whose resin was transformed into amber, so with each passing year the amber becomes more expensive. In addition to the Baltic countries, the amber can be found in the Ukraine, Romania, Sicily, and even on the Atlantic coast, but on an industrial scale it is mined only in Russian city - Kaliningrad.
The Amber Museum is one of the most popular among the guests of Vilnius. This small museum is very young - it was opened in 1995. The museum building itself is of a significant historical value. Behind the Baroque façade there is hidden the foundation, located at the historical layer of XIV-XV centuries, the first floor of the building is situated on the level of the streets, that date back to the XVIIth century. During the excavation of the basement there were found pottery kilns and pottery fragments, dating back to the XVth century.
All the nations that in ancient times met with amber, have their own legends about it's origin. By the Lithuanian legend, amber - is all that was left from the underwater palace of the goddess Jurate, punished for her love to a mortal man, and the smallest drops of amber are no less, than her tears.
In the museum's collection of amber there are gathered the samples of different colors, shapes and sizes, with the inclusion of plants and insects. The real pride of the museum - a rare stone with the seashell inside. Guests of the museum will be told about the physicochemical properties of amber, which explain it's ability to have a beneficial affect on the human body, helping people to cope with many illnesses. In the museum collection can also be seen many samples of jewelry and amulets, some of them date back to hundreds of years.
The Amber Museum in Palanga - the coastal resort town in western Lithuania - has existed since 1963. In the Tyszkiewicz manor, surrounded by a large old park, there is gathered a collection, consisting of twenty eight thousand objects. This large exhibition is telling about the origin of amber and it's implication for humanity. The biggest item of this museum weighs three and a half kilograms. In May of this year there was opened a new exhibition. If you are going to Lithuania, it's good to visit Palanga. The Botanical Garden of Palanga is the most beautiful sample of the Gardening Art in the Lithuanian sea coast, that remained almost unchanged since 1897, when the park was laid out by the famous French architect and botanist Eduard Francois Andre. At the same time there was built a palace in neo-Renaissance style, where now is placed the museum of amber. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum is often holding temporary exhibitions, and in the garden there are held the musical evenings.