Konopiště is best known for its 14th century chateau that once served as a bastion of the nobility in their struggle for power with the king. Six centuries later it became the residence of the former heir to the Austrian crown, Franz Ferdinand d’Este. Scorned by the Austrian nobility for having married a low-born, he needed an impressive summer residence to win back the envy of his peers. Franz Ferdinand spared no expense in restoring the castle to its original Gothic form. He filled 82 rooms with peculiar statues, paintings and curiosities. His dream came to a fateful end in 1914 as he was assassinated at Sarajevo, an event that triggered World War I.
The chateau with long, rounded, neo-Gothic towers is situated in a lovely formal garden with a circle of sandstone statues of classical gods, sculpted by Matthias Bernard Braun.
A valuable collection of historical weaponry from the 16th to 18th century can be seen in the Weapons Hall on the third floor. Besides that you may see a fine display of furniture, drape tapestries, sculptures, paintings, china and plenty of hunting trophies.
During World War II the chateau was annexed to the SS drilling ground, serving as the headquarters. Some pieces of the precious collection were moved to Prague, Salzburg, and other places in Austria and Germany. After the war all seized items were tracked down and restored back to Konopiště.
All the exhibits were created with great endeavour to preserve the highest authenticity possible. Archived materials, item lists and period photographies were used as guidance.