The Iolani Palace is one of the most famous historical structures in Oahu, Hawaii. Discover this landmark with our Downtown Honolulu City tour package.
Considered as the only royal palace in the U.S., Iolani Palace has also been the official residence of King Kalakaua and his successor Queen Liliuokalani, the last two monarchs who reigned in Hawaii. It was designated as one of the National Historic Landmarks in the United States because of its importance in Hawaii’s political and cultural story.
During the rule of the first three monarchs of the Kingdom of Hawaii, there were no distinguished and official seat of power that ever existed. The royalties governed the people in any place that they may prefer or need at the particular time.
It was only in 1845, when a permanent royal seat was inaugurated during the rule of King Kamehameha III. The building that the king acquired to be his official seat of government was called Hale Ali`I which was located at the spot where it presently stood. Another building beside the palace was also built to serve as the king’s official residence. This was then called Hoihoikea.
At the time of King Kamehameha V, the palace was renamed “Iolani” or “Bird of Heaven” in honor of his brother and predecessor, King Kamehameha IV.
The New Iolani Palace
Eventually, the original palace was severely damaged by termites. The reigning government, under King Kalakaua, initiated the construction of a new palace on the same location. The structure was built following the design of “American Florentine” tradition. Various types of native woods and American woods have been used for its interiors while the furniture and other fixtures came from America and other European and Asian countries.
The new Iolani Palace was completed in 1882. Another structure was also built to be the king’s residence between the palace and Hoihoikea. Queen Liliuokalani, King Kalakuaa’s successor and the last reigning monarch, also chose to live at the Washington Place during her reign.
Iolani Palace was not only used for the political functions of the royal government. On various occasions, it was also venue for parties, ceremonies and other functions of the state. After the downfall of the monarchy, it turned into a prison to hold Liliuokalani for several months.
The palace was transformed as a chamber for the House of Representatives and a Senate hall when the U.S. took over Hawaii. During the Second World War, the palace was also used by the Red Cross for its relief and rescue operations.
After some restoration efforts, the Iolani Palace was turned to museum and was opened to the public. It now houses a great number of artworks from Europe and Asia.
Visit the Iolani Palace
If you wish to see the historic Iolani Palace, Pearl Harbor Website offers Honolulu City tour. We will take you to the best destinations in Honolulu City in Oahu. We are the only tour company in Hawaii that offers 5 star VIP services.