Konopiste Castle (Zámek Konopiště) was founded at the end of 13th century probably by the bishop Tobias from Benesov. Originally the medieval castle in French Gothic style was later rebuilt into a Baroque chateau by the Vrtbas from Vrtba. Its current look is a result of the last renovation made by Archduke Franz Ferdinand d'Este, the successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne, who bought the castle from the Lobkowitzs in 1887.
Before his assassination in 1914 that started WW I, Ferdinand d'Este lived in Konopiste and gathered here a large collection of hunting trophies, weapons, antique furniture, paintings, tapestry and other art objects. This collection is now the main attraction of the castle, along with a large castle garden and a pair of bears living in a castle moat.
The photo above was taken in June 2009 and shows the Konopiste Castle across a large pond that is a part of the castle garden. A wider view across the pond shows the next picture:
How to get there
Konopiste is located about 45-minut drive (50 Km) from Prague -- see directions and a map. You can also go by train from Prague Main Railway Station to Benešov u Prahy (about one hour) and then follow the red hiking trail (less than 3 Km through a beautiful castle park).