Konopiste is a famous chateau located southeast of Prague, in the Czech Republic. This building has become famous for being the last residence of the archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand. His assassination at this location was the trigger of World War 1, making the site a popular destination for tourists. The bullet that killed him can be found on exhibit at the museum in the castle.
The castle of Konopiste was originally built by Bishop Tobias in the 1280’s as a Gothic fortified residence. In 1725, it was transformed into a Baroque chateau, replacing the drawbridge with a stone bridge and inserting a new entrance in the eastern tower. The gate was created by Frantisek Maxmilian Kanka and showcased statues made from the workshop of Matthais Braun.
The Ministry of Culture was estimated to have spent more than $800,000 each year for the maintenance of this castle, although it recovers the same amount from tourists visit and entrance ticket sales. Aside from tourism, it can also be rented for formal functions involving heads of states or other large businesses. Currently, Princess Sophie Hohenberg has claim restitution of the castle for her family since she is a descendant of Franz Ferdinand.
Aside from being the famous scene of the World War 1 assassination, part of the movie “The Illusionist” was filmed at this castle, which has been open to public visits since 1971. Visitors are able to tour the residential rooms of the castle and the well kept gardens surrounding the premises. Ferdinand was an avid hunter, so some rooms contain a large collection of antlers and other hunting trophies. Konopiste also has one of the largest collections of medieval armor in the world. Other features include a shooting hall, green houses, and a garden with classic Italian statues from the Renaissance period.
If you are into Czech castles – check out Sternberk too.