Konopiště Castle

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View from the park to the castle
The central building of the castle
Partial view of the facade
Front of Konopiště Castle in autumn
Castle tower
rose Garden

The Konopiště Castle (German Konopischt , older also Konnepisch ) is located in the Konopiště district of the same name in the Central Bohemian town of Benešov ( Beneschau ) about 37 km south of Prague .


The predecessor of today's castle near Benešov ( Beneschau ) was a castle built by the Lords of Beneschau in the 14th century . In 1327, the Bohemian King John of Luxembourg transferred it to the Lords of Sternberg , who redesigned the castle in the late Gothic style at the beginning of the 17th century and later in the late Renaissance style. At the beginning of the 18th century, the castle was rebuilt by the Counts of Vrtba in the Baroque style and in 1830 passed to Prince Johann Karl von Lobkowitz (1799–1878).

On March 1, 1887, the castle and the lordship of Konopischt were bought by Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este for 2.5 million  florins , who had the castle restored in the neo-Gothic style between 1889 and 1894 by the architects Josef Mocker and Franz Schmoranz furnished it with art objects. The property was 6,842 hectares and included, among other things, a sugar factory, quarries, a spirit factory and patronage over four parishes. Then there was the Beneschauer Brauerei AG, which the Archduke had rebuilt in 1897. From 1893 to 1895 he devoted himself to the renovation of the castle. About 1,100,000 crowns were invested in Konopishte during these years.

In September 1895 the historical weapon collection from the Este inheritance was transferred here from the Catajo Castle (near Padua ). In 1896 Franz Ferdinand became heir to the throne of Emperor Franz Joseph I in Austria-Hungary when his father, brother of the emperor, died. Until then, since Crown Prince Rudolf's suicide in 1889 , he had been number two in line to the throne of the dual monarchy behind his father.

On 23 October 1913, the German Emperor came Wilhelm II. As part of a four-day visit to Austria to Konopischt and conferred here with the heir to the throne and kuk Foreign Minister Leopold Berchtold on a common strategy towards the Slavic states. The room in which Wilhelm II stayed has been preserved. On 12./13. In June 1914, the German Emperor, accompanied by Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz , was again a guest of the Archduke heir to the throne in Konopischt; it was about Balkan politics and the problems of Romania, allied with the German Empire and Austria-Hungary, and Hungary's intolerant nationality policy in Transylvania, which is mainly inhabited by Romanians . Both visits by the German emperor and the hunts that Franz Ferdinand organized in the course of these visits are documented in the Museum of Artstetten Castle , and the bulletin boards show a large number of hunted animals.

After the assassination attempt in Sarajevo and the death of Franz Ferdinand and his morganatic wife Sophie Duchess von Hohenberg on June 28, 1914, both of the couple's sons, Duke Maximilian Hohenberg and Prince Ernst Hohenberg , inherited the palace and the collections it contained. The two were expropriated without compensation in 1919, after the end of the First World War, at that time 17 and 15 years old, in favor of the Czechoslovak Republic by their own Lex Hohenberg and were expelled as Austrian citizens to Austria , where they fell under the Austrian Nobility Repeal Act .

In the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia the castle Konopiště in 1943 as the seat of the commands was SS - training area Bohemia and served until the end of World War II, in 1945, as a depot for looted art . Despite attempts by Maximilian Hohenberg to assert his rights to this property, there was no settlement until the end of the war. The Hohenberg family did not get their property back in Konopischt, although the duchess and her children did not become part of the Habsburg family due to the renunciation oath of their father and thus actually did not fall under the Habsburg laws of the successor states of the Danube Monarchy . The daughter-in-law of Maximilian Hohenberg, a née Princess of Luxembourg, tried in vain to renegotiate her rights with the Czech government through her French son-in-law.

Despite this eventful past, there is a good relationship between the Archduke Franz Ferdinand Museum in Artstetten Castle and the administration of Konopischt Castle. Here, regardless of legal disputes in the past, priority is given to the preservation of history.


A rich collection of arts and crafts from the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods to the present day is kept in Konopiště Castle. This makes it one of the most interesting castles in Central Europe. The collection of arms belonging to the d'Este family is particularly worth seeing ; Franz Ferdinand von Österreich-Este had inherited the property of the last bearer of this family name in 1875 on condition that the name and title be continued.

The exhibits include a collection of religious items belonging to Saint George , the patron saint of knights . On the first floor there is the reception and column salon, the large dining room with a ceiling fresco from the mid-18th century by František Julius Lux and the castle chapel with vaults. In addition, the living rooms, the Vrtba and Tirpitz salons, the rose room and Kaiser Wilhelm's bedroom. Franz Ferdinand's hunting trophies are exhibited in the castle aisles; the heir to the throne was known to be extremely fond of hunting.



  • Mapa hradů a zámků Československa 1: 750000, Kartographia Praha 1970, page 59
  • Karl M. Svoboda (Ed.): Barock in Böhmen, Prestel Verlag Munich 1964, Konopischt page 55; Castle chapel page 41

Web links

Commons : Konopiště Castle  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. http://biblio.unibe.ch/adam/zoom/zoom.php?col=ryh&pic=Ryh_4403_2
  2. Tomáš Baletka: Páni z Kravař - Z Moravy až na konec světa , 2004, ISBN 80-7106-682-6 , p. 23f.
  3. ^ Archives Artstetten Castle / Konopischt / Purchase and renovations.
  4. (family name due to the unequal marriage after the mother)
  5. ^ Née Elisabeth of Luxemburg, Princess of Bourbon-Parma and of Nassau as the sole heir of her husband, Duke Franz v. Hohenberg.
  6. ^ Count Romée de la Poeze d´Harambure
  7. ^ Archives Schloss Artstetten / Konopischt / Correspondence 1982–1990

Coordinates: 49 ° 46 ′ 46 ″  N , 14 ° 39 ′ 24 ″  E