Konopiště Chateau is situated in the midst of charming gardens and a scenic landscape. This chateau once belonged to the successor to the Habsburg throne, Franz Ferdinand d´Este – famous for his death in 1914, which started WWI. Originally a gothic castle built in the 14th century, it was rebuilt in the 19th century and housed fascinating collections of historical weapons, furniture, paintings and tapestries. Worth seeing is Franz Ferdinand’s impressive collection of medieval arms and armour and the landscaped garden with peacocks grazing on the lawn. Franz Ferdinand was obsessed with hunting, and his home is decorated with his trophies. In his books, he recorded that he shot around 300.000 creatures, from foxes and deer to tigers. More than 100.000 of these still decorate the walls. St George renovated the castle in the 1890s with up to date technology such as flush toilets, electricity and a lift. There is also the St George Museum just beneath the castle terrace. There are three guided tours available.
Getting to Konopiste
You can get a train from Prague which will take you to Benesov – these trains every half hour and the journey itself takes about 1 hour. From Benesov station, you will find a well-marked trail to the castle, although it is about a 1.5-mile walk. To walk to the castle, you will have to walk along the street that runs next to the train tracks before turning left at the first bridge you come to. You will then have to follow the trail markers. If you see the marker that points into the woods, follow this track – it will allow you to avoid the massive car park found outside the castle. More info www.zamek-konopiste.cz. You can also book an organized excursion online.
Opening hours for museum and chateau:
April, October: Tu – Fr 9 – 12 a.m., 1 – 3 p.m., Sa + Su 9 – 12 a.m., 1 – 4 p.m.
May – August: Tu – Su 9 – 12 a.m., 1 – 5 p.m.
September: Tu – Su 9 – 12 a.m., 1 – 4 p.m., Sa + Su 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
November: Sa + Su 9 – 12 a.m., 1 – 3 p.m., Tu – Fr for booked groups only
Admission: from 145 CZK to 310 CZK, museum 25 CZK.