From Prague to Konopiste Castle
- 4 hours
- Car or Minivan
- Hotel pick up
- Tour guide
Thirty years before his assassination in Sarajevo, Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand bought the ancient Konopiste Castle, whose roots go as far back as the 13th century, and turned it into an extravagant residence worthy of a man in his position. The interiors of the castle serve as a reminder of the fascinating life of Franz Ferdinand, one of the wealthiest men of his era and a passionate hunter, and his beautiful wife Sophia Chotek, a czech Countess who proved that love can overcome an unequal beginning. Konopiste Castle offers an insight into the lifestyle of Europe‘s nobility, as well as the opportunity to view an extraordinary collection of hunting trophies, art and weapons.
- Private Tour Guide
- Entrance Fee To The Konopiste Castle
Please note that Konopiště Castle is closed on Monday!
History of the castle
Konopiste Castle was founded at the end of the 13th century by Prague’s bishop Tobias from the house Benesovic. It was built as french-style gothic castle with massive walls, a moat and 7 defensive towers. The house Benesovic owned the castle until 1318 when the family died out and Konopiste passed into the hands of the Sternberk family. The Sternberks were a catholic family and they participated in a riot of the catholic nobility against the protestant king Jiri of Podebrady. In 1467 Jiri besieged the castle and conquered it after 18 months of besieging which is the longest besieging in the Czech medieval history. Konopiste castle was never conquered by force, only through starvation. In 1603, after almost 300 year of Sternberg rule, the castle was purchased by the Hodejovsky family. The new owners decided to modify the medieval castle into a renaissance palace, making it more comfortable for living. However the Hodejovsky family was protestant and after losing the battle of the White Mountain in 1620 in which the Czech protestants lost to the Austrian catholics the Hodejovsky family lost all their property. The confiscated castle changed owners several times until the Vrtba family bought it in 1725 and gave it a baroque look.
The most famous owner, Archduke Ferdinand D’Este, bought Konopiste Castle with cash in 1887. Archduke could afford it because he inherited the wealth of house Este from Modena. He had the castle repaired by a famous Czech architect Josef Mocker who made alterations to the structure. He electrified the castle and incorporated one of the first elevators in the Czech lands. The electricity was generated by a turbine from a new artificial pond below the castle. Archduke was also a very passionate hunter who hunted animals all around the world. In his life he allegedly killed more than 274 000 animals, a number we know quite precisely because Ferdinand kept records about all the killings. He hunted bears in Russia, crocodiles in Egypt, elephants in India, buffalos in America and antelopes in Africa. Therefore the castle has thousands of trophies on the walls which you will be able to see on a tour inside Konopiste. Archduke inherited a huge armory from the Modena heritage that is now located in Konopiste. Archduke Ferdinand D’Este lived in Konopiste with his wife Sophia and their 3 children until their fatal trip to Sarajevo in 1914. Their 3 kids stayed in the castle as orphans until 1921 when the newly formed Czechoslovakian Republic confiscated the property of the Habsburg family. The descendants of Archduke Ferdinand and his Czech wife Sophia live in Austria until today. During WWII Konopiste Castle was used by the SS. Today it is the most popular castle in the Czech countryside.
Our private guide will pick you up in the hotel in Prague and together you will drive to Konopiste. The castle is located approximately 45 minutes to the South of Prague. After you arrive, our private guide will buy tickets at the cashier and show you around the area. You can visit the shooting range where Franz Ferdinand practised his shooting, see the museum of St. George with one of the largest collections of St. George objects in the world or let our private guide take you to the Rose garden where you can admire local peacocks walking among roses.
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