The Konopiste Castle was originally founded as a gothic fortress guarding a nearby town of Benesov. Being founded at the end of the 13th century by Tobias of Benesov, it was built at the beginning of the 14th century, following the model of french castles called “castels”.
The castle changed owners and has undergone many changes over time. The most significant alteration took place in the 18th when members of the Vrtba family rebuilt the castle into a baroque residence.
The utterly most important and famous owner of the Konopiste Castle was the archduke Fratisek (Franz) Ferdinand d’Este, a successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Being a great hunter and collector he has filled the whole castle Konopiste with hunting trophies, and collections of weapons, furniture and applied art.
After 1918 (the founding of the Czechoslovak State) Konopiste Castle become property of the Government. Now is the castle open to the public and after the year 1989 has become a major tourist destination with approx. 300,000 visitors a year.
By your visit you can choose from three different castle tours: one focused on the representation of living, second is more about the historical weapons, and the third shows the private apartment of the family of Habsburg-Este.
Unfortunately, the tourist agencies offering this excursion in Prague let you see only one of this three parts of the Konopiste, randomly chosen. As a result, it may happen that one deeply interested in antique weapons, has to visit saloons representation and contrary.
If you are not satisfied with this, you can visit the castle alone (by train) or as a private tour with your private guide. If you will decide to go there you can find the right connection at www.idos.cz, the train from Prague to Benesov, from where the castle is just few minutes by walk.
More info about the castle and opening hours you can find at official web site of Konopiste Castle.