April 01, 2011

There's a royal palace in Hawaii, a grand residence that was built for the Hawaiian royals, King Kalakaua and Queen Kapi'olani.

On a recent trip to Honolulu, I had a chance to venture off with my camera, snapping at anything that happened to catch my eye. Wandering onto the grounds of Iolani Palace, I passed through the wrought iron gates which had this royal seal mounted upon it. The seal depicts the coat of arms of the kingdom of Hawaii.  
"Ua mau ke ea o ka'aina i ka pono" translated to English is, "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness".

A long walkway leads up to the palace with an inviting grassy lawn and huge monkey pod trees. The building was very appealing in character so I approached for a closer look.

The Florentine architecture is unusual in that it has an Hawaiian twist which makes it truly unique. The openness of the lanais on two floors reflects the tropical weather as compared to 19th century buildings in Europe of the same style.

The rectangular palace is the same when viewed from the front or the back.

Built in 1882, it looks the same now as it did then as you can see from this old photo.

Fluted Corinthian columns line the facade adorned with capitals carved into curled acanthus leaves.
 Fine detail in the molding above the capitals.
 As well as the stairs and arches at the entrance and the iron railings above.
 Below, you can see the beautiful corbels, cornices and dentil molding on the top of the central tower.
Looking toward one of the corner towers I suddenly remembered that Steve McGarrett was supposed to have his Five-O headquarters in that upper corner room.
More beautiful design and character in the slate tiles on the turret roof.
These absolutely stunning etched glass windows are perfect examples of Greco-Victorian design, and yet, they're located here in Hawaii rather than somewhere in Europe.
Inside, the grand staircase is like a waterfall running down to a reflecting pool in a forest of koa wood.
Outside on the grounds next to the palace is where the coronation of the king and queen took place back in 1883. A lavish luau was held here to celebrate the event.

A photo taken at the time shows the decorations and another shows the actual event.

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