The Magnificence of Iolani Palace in Hawaii
Visitors to Honolulu in Hawaii will find that there is plenty to see and do, and can be assured of a warm welcome by the friendly people living in this bustling city. Situated in what is known as “downtown” Honolulu, the beautiful Iolani Palace is a national landmark with a fascinating history that all visitors should make a point of exploring.
Iolani Palace was built by King Kalakaua of Hawaii in 1882 and served as the official residence of the royal family at the time. King Kalakaua was succeeded by his sister Queen Lili’uokalani, who also made the palace her home. During the monarchy era of Hawaii, the palace was the center of both social and political activity in the country. Upon the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, the palace buildings were left to deteriorate and soon took on an air of neglect. However, in the 1970s, due to the efforts of a group of concerned individuals, the enormous task of restoring Iolani Palace was undertaken. Although some restoration and preservation measures are still in progress, Iolani Palace has largely been restored to its former glory and visitors are invited to enjoy an in depth look at the history and heritage of Hawaii.
A guided tour of Iolani Palace includes a video presentation titled “A King’s Noble Vision” followed by a self-guided tour of the Palace Galleries which showcase an amazing collection of artifacts, including the Hawaiian crown jewels and skillfully crafted royal emblems. The H.J. Bartels Gallery features an extensive collection of portraits and historic photographs. During the tour visitors will learn about the building and completion of the palace, and the subsequent overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.
When the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, resulting in the archipelago of Hawaii being included in the United States of America, the contents of the palace were auctioned off and were scattered throughout the world. Many of the furnishings and artifacts on display at Iolani Palace have been retrieved from different American states as well as overseas countries, and have then been carefully restored. The search for auctioned items continues, with the primary focus on restoring the King’s bedroom, the Queen’s bedroom and the palace’s Music Room.
Iolani Palace has two shops on site which carry a superb selection of videos, jewelry, books and curios relating to the palace and Hawaiian culture and history. Proceeds from shop sales go toward restoration of the palace and its contents. Courses and workshops at the palace include learning the ancient art of lauhala weaving and quilt making. Lectures in Hawaiian history, culture and language, as well as genealogy research workshops which are held at Iolani Palce have proven to be very popular. Each Friday between 12 noon and 1 pm (weather permitting), the Royal Hawaiian Band entertains visitors with a free concert on the palace grounds.
With its incredible scenery, beautiful palm-fringed beaches, temperate climate and laid-back hospitality, Hawaii is a popular tourist destination. Be sure to take some time to visit the Iolani Palace when you are next in the Hawaiian city of Honolulu.