Konopiste, originally founded at the end of the 13th century, was built as a Gothic fortress overlooking and guarding the nearby village of Benesov. The chateau’s founder, Tobias of Benesov had the structure modeled after French castles at the time. The chateau had many owners over time, changing the appearance from Gothic to Renaissance, but the biggest change took place in the 18th century when the Vrtba family reconstructed the chateau into a Baroque residence. The chateau is undeniably connected with its last noble owner, Franz Ferdinand d’Este famous as the Archduke whose 1914 assassination in Sarajevo sparked the beginning of WWI. In his Konopiste chateau he installed electricity, thus making Konopiste a modern livable Chateau. The heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne bought the chateau from the Lobkowicz family in 1887 and converted it into a royal residence fit for a soon to be king. Franz Ferdinand d’Este had the chambers richly decorated with family collections and with his own hunting trophies as he first and foremost used the chateau as a royal hunting lodge. His passion for hunting is evident in the royal game hall, a long corridor full of animal trophies ranging from the forests of Central Europe with wild boars and deer to the more exotic large cats. The chateau offers three separate tours: Salons of the South Wing, Salons of the North Wing and the private chambers of Franz Ferdinand himself. The chateau also offers an exhibition showcasing one of the largest collections of St. George artwork, a pretty rose garden and the chateau park with landscaped grounds and a large pond, a shooting range and much more.
Address: 256 01 Benesov, Czech Republic, +420 317 721 366, +420 602 349 068, www.zamek-konopiste.cz
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