The Palanga Manor or Tyszkiewicz Palace is a Neo-Renaissance style building in Palanga, Lithuania, built for the Tyszkiewicz family. The construction was started n 1893 and finished in 1897. The palace is surrounded bya park wth ponds, fountains, and collections of rare plants. Since 1963 the palace has housed the Palanga Amber Museum and is surrounded by the Palanga Botanical Garden.
The museum's collection of amber comprises about 28,000 pieces, of which about 15,000 contain inclusion of insects, spiders, or plants. About 4,500 pieces of amber are exhibited; many of these are items of artwork and jewelry. The museum holds the third largest amber specimen in Europe, the "Sun Stone", weighing over 3.5 kilograms, which has been stolen twice. The cultural and artistic exhibits of museum currently include a 15th-century ring, a 16th-century cross, and amber jewelry from the past four centuries, as well as number of modern decorations.
The exhibition areas open to the public include 15 rooms covering about 750 square meters; a chapel connected to the palace houses temporary exhibitions. The museum is thematically divided into the scientific and cultural/artistic aspects of amber.
The first floor is dedicated to displays that illustrate the formation and composition of amber. Amber in the area arose from deltaic deposits of rivers flowing from Fennoscandio in the Eocene Period, about 40 to 45 million years ago. The processes via which resin is changed into amber by microorganisms, oxidation, and polymerization are illustrated. Samples of microdrops and microicicles (i.e. "amber within amber") are among the displayed items. Amber from other areas world is also part of the collection.
The cultural and artistic exhibits include a 15th-century ring, a 15th-century cross, and amber jewelry from the past four centuries, as well as a number of rosaries, cigarette holders, and decorative boxes. The missing amber artifacts thta were dated to the Neolithic era have been reconstructed by archeologists. Selections of modern amber work are part of the collection, including pieces by the Lithuanian artists Horstas Taleikis, Dionyzas Varkalis, Jonas Urbonas, and others.
The gardens surrounding the museum cover about 100 hectraes. They were designed by the French landscape architect and botanist Edouard Andre and his son Rene Eduard Andre, assisted by the Belgian gerdener Buyssen de Coulon. Local historians have estimated that they originally cantained about 500 varities of trees and shrubs, some brought from gardens in Berlin. About 250 imported and 370 native plant species are now represented at the park; 24 of these are included in Lithuanian's 1992 list of endangered species. Pine and fir trees adapted to the sandy soil predominate.
The park features a rose grden, greenhouse, rotunda, a sculpture of Eglė, the Queen of Serpents, a Holocaust memorial, ponds, ans gazebos;during the summer it hosts concerts and festivals. It contains an ancient forested sand dune, known as Birutė's Hill,topped witha chapel dedicated to Saint George, that was built in 1869. According to legend, this dune in the place wher Grand Duke of Lithuania Kęstutis met his wife Borutė, a pagan pristress, and where she is supposed to have interred in 1382; it has been a pilgrimage site ever since.