As we walk through the long corridor, the only thought that comes to mind is “Franz was a mentally disturbed man.” Every free space of the hallway is covered in animal heads, artfully displayed and catalogued, more than 1,500 in total. More shocking is that these heads represent a mere two percent of the total animals the Archduke Franz Ferdinand killed during his 50 year-life. Assuming he hunted every single day of his life, including during infancy, that is more than 16 animals killed per day.
The Archduke also collected guns and other weapons as well as chain mail (including full horse mail) by the hundreds. The sword with the carved women that Daario Naharis is so found of? I’m betting that was inspired by one of the Archduke’s collectibles.
We visited the Archduke’s palace, Konopiště, together with my family when they visited Prague this spring. It lies roughly an hour outside of Prague and is easily-accessible via a train and short 3 km hike. The Frenchman had gotten a virus or some sort of tummy trouble the day before, and, needless to say, bye the time we were finished with the animal heads and our lunch of goulash from deer caught on the castle grounds, I was feeling a bit queasy, too. The castle was a great half-day adventure away from the city and provided a glimpse into the private life of one of the last centuries most important men while also continuing to build on the knowledge of the Hapsburg family we have spent this spring learning about on nearly every outing.
As no photos are allowed inside the castle to document the oddity, those who are interested can catch a glimpse with this Rick Steves video: