Konopiště Castle, founded as a Gothic fortress, was inspired by French fortresses with a symmetrical layout of the towers, several entrances and drawbridges. Thanks to many modifications, it was gradually converted into a romantic chateau with luxuriously furnished interior modified for the everyday life of the aristocracy.
Konopiště was an exceptional place since its very beginnings. Although for the majority of castles one, or two towers, were sufficient enough for their defence, the owners of Konopiště decided, that they would not safe money for defence purposes. And that´s why there were seven towers that gave a real majestic look to the castle. And if we consider its exceptional placement the result was a construction of perfect defensive facility.
The important period in the Konopiště history was a moment in the 17th century, when the castle was bought by Hodějov family. Considering the fact that they were a rich fmily and the medieval castle was not meeting the living standard needs of that times, they begun the rennaissance reconstruction of the castle. Several defending walls were demolished and for better view of the nobility trees were planted on the bald hill, on which the castle stood.
In the 18th cenutry the indebted palace was bought by the Vrtba family, who decided to finish the reconstruction. They built a new building with luxurious chambers, they lowered five out of seven gothic towers and built the palace garden.
The most important and famous owner of the Konopiste Castle was the archduke Fratisek (Franz) Ferdinand d'Este, a successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne whose assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 became a pretext of the the World War I. This man bought the Konopiste domain in 1887 from the Lobkowitzs family and converted it into a magnificent seat of a Heir.
Franz Ferdinand was a passionate hunter and collector. During a tour of the chateau, you can admire his valuable collection of weapons, the so-called Este Armoury, which is one of the largest in Europe. Franz Ferdinand also had an extension built comprising one room to hold more than 1,000 portraits of St. George, with which he allegedly wanted to beat the similar collection owned by the King of England. The Great Trophy Corridor bears testament to Franz Ferdinand’s passion for hunting. The archduke killed almost 300,000 animals during his life. The representative lounges with exceptionally valuable Italian cabinets, the Great Dining Hall with ceiling paintings and the living room of Franz Ferdinand’s family will provide you with an insight into everyday life at the chateau.
Today the object is owned by the state and you may visit it in the opening times. Interiors are equipped in a way as they were in times of its last important owner – several times mentioned Ferdinand d´Este.