Konopiště is a palace, which become famous as the last residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne, whose assassination in Sarajevo triggered World War I. The bullet that killed him, fired by Gavrilo Princip, is now an exhibit at the castle's museum.

The castle was apparently established in the 1280s by Prague Bishop Tobiaš as a Gothic fortification with a rectangular plan and round towers protruding from the corners. Accounts show that the Benešévic family from nearby Benešov were the owners in 1318, and that in 1327 the castle passed into the hands of the Šternberks. In 1468 it was conquered by the troops of George of Poděbrady after a siege that lasted almost two years. In 1603 the estate was purchased by Dorota Hodějovská of Hodějov, who made Renaissance alterations to the old gothic fortification. The Hodějovský family fortified their property because of their active participation in the anti-Habsburg rebellion in 1620. Albrecht von Waldstein acquired the castle and after him it was passed to Adam Michna of Vacínov. Michna gained notoriety through his repression of the serfs, who revolted against him and conquered Konopiště in 1627. The Swedes occupied and plundered Konopiště in 1648, and the Vrtba family then purchased the dilapidated structure.

After 1725 they had it transformed into a Baroque style château. The drawbridge was replaced by a stone bridge, and near the east tower a new entrance was inserted in the wall. In 1746 the upper levels of four of the towers were destroyed and one tower was completely demolished. During repair of the interiors mythological and allegorical frescoes were painted on the ceilings of the great hall and marble fireplaces with carved decorations by Lazar Wildmann were created. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria bought Konopiště in 1887, with his inheritance from the last reigning Duke of Modena, and he had it repaired between 1889 and 1894 by the architect Josef Mocker into a luxurious residence, suitable to the future Emperor, which he preferred to his official residence in Vienna. The extensive 225 ha English-style park, with terraces, a rose garden and statues, was established at the same time.

Konopiště has been open to the public since 1971. Visitors can observe the residential rooms of Franz Ferdinand who was also an enthusiastic hunter, a large collection of antlers, the third largest European collection of armoury and medieval weapons, a shooting hall with moving targets and a garden with Italian Renaissance statues and greenhouses.

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Details

Founded: 1280s
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Czech Republic

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kurt Vinion (15 months ago)
Without a doubt this is one of those truly magical castles that people dream about. I have captured many wonderful weddings here and yet, it is and always will be one of my favorite places to visit with my children. There is much to see and the grounds are gorgeous too. Highly recommend!
Evangelos Santis (2 years ago)
Worth the visit. Located in a nice “hill” inside the forest with view to the village below it. Some events are taking place during summer. Remember to grab your ticket close to the parking area and not at the entrance of the castle.
Aitolkyn Abdigali (2 years ago)
Very nice castle with an interesting history. From the outside there is a lake and a lot of trees, you can find deers and even the bear. Entrance is not free, but there is a guides which will tell you the history of every room in the castle. There are 4 types of tour where you can walk in different parts of the castle, but it would be better if there will be option without guide cheaper entrance tickets. Another moment, it is prohibited to make pictures inside of castle which is really strange, you pay for entrance but couldn't take photos.
Pedro Heitor (2 years ago)
Very interesting Castle, with one of the best collections I've saw in Czech Republic. The adjacent area is super nice, with a very cool path trough the forest to get there and by the lake nearby. The restaurant inside is also quite good too! Totally recommended!
Ondřej Řepík (2 years ago)
A Beautiful castle to look upon and rarely you can even see an Asian Bear relaxing in his enclosure below. Not too crowded, which I find relaxing, but also a bit moody for my taste.
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