Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii

The Iolani Palace is the only royal palace in the United States of America to be used as a residence by a ruling monarch. It is situated in downtown Honolulu, in the island state of Hawaii. The Iolani Palace was constructed in 1882, by King David Kalakaua, the last king of Hawaii. It continued to be a royal residence till 1893, when Queen Lili-uokalani, the successor of King Kalakaua (his sister), was deposed and the monarchy overthrown by the USA.

Features of the Iolani Palace

The architecture of the Ionani Palace has a strong European influence. It was designed by Thomas J. Baker, Charles J. Wall and Isaac Moore, and cost a huge sum of $340,000 to build (a large amount at that time). The royal Ionani Palace was far ahead of its time. This beautiful palace had electricity and telephones, many years before they were installed in the White House. Electricity was used to operate the light system, while the phone system connected telephones within the royal residence. The Ionani Palace also had flush toilets.

The Iolani Palace in Hawaii measures 140 feet by 100 feet, and is two stories tall. It has four towers in the four corners, and two central towers, which measure 76 feet. On the first floor of the Iolani Palace is a grand hall facing the koa wood staircase. The interior of this hall is decorated with ornamental plaster. The blue room is another beautiful room at the Iolani Palace. It has a large portrait of King Louis Philippe of France, and a koa wood piano that was used by the Queen to entertain guests.

The interiors of the Ionani Palace in Honolulu, are richly decorated, and reflected the lavish tastes of King Kalakaua and his sister Queen Lili-uokalani. It features ornate furniture, an exquisite koa staircase, portraits of Hawaiian royalty members, and expensive gifts that the Hawaiian kings received from around the world. Some rooms at the Ionani Palace that are must-sees are the throne room, the living quarters of the royal family and Queen Liliuokalani’s bedroom, where she was imprisoned.

After the Queen was overthrown, the Iolani Palace was used as the capital building for the provincial government for a short period, before it was deserted. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1962. In 1978, the Iolani Palace underwent extensive renovation, and currently, it stands as a museum. Various royal articles are displayed on the basement level of the museum, including swords, royal jewellery, and the two golden crowns of the king and queen.

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