The Konopiště Castle, founded as a Gothic fortress, was inspired by fortresses in France with a symmetrical layout of towers, more entrances and drawbridges. It was step by step converted into a romantic chateau with luxurious furnishing and interiors adapted to the everyday needs of the aristocracy in the end of 19th century.
The owners of Konopiště decided not to have only 1 or 2 guarding towers but they spent a lot of money to build seven towers! Considerating its exceptional location the castle used to be a perfectly defended facility.
The important period in its history was 17th century, when the castle was bought by Hodějov family. They were a rich family and the medieval castle did not meet the living needs of that times, so they begun the Rennaissance reconstruction of the castle. Several defending walls were demolished and the trees were plated here for better view of the nobility trees.
In the 18th cenutry the palace was bought by the Vrtba family, who decided to finish the reconstruction. They built a new building with luxurious rooms, they lowered some 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 who was a successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne. His assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 became a trigger of the the World War I. The archduke bought the Konopiste domain in 1887 from the Lobkowitzs family.
Franz Ferdinand was keen on hunting and collecting. During a tour of the chateau it is possible to see his valuable collection of weapons, the so-called Este Armoury, which is one of the largest in Europe. Franz Ferdinand also collected more than 1,000 portraits of St. George and he allegedly wanted to overshadow the similar collection of the King of England. The Great Trophy Corridor illustrates the Franz Ferdinand’s passion for hunting. The archduke killed almost 300,000 animals during his life. The everyday life in the chateau in that times it is possible to discover in representative rooms with exceptionally valuable Italian cabinets, in the Great Dining Hall with paintings on the ceiling and in the living room of Franz Ferdinand’s family.
Today the object is owned by the state and it is possible to visit it in its opening times. Interiors are equipped the same way as they were in times of the last important owner - the archduke Ferdinand d´Este.