|The significance of the land around `Iolani Palace stretches back to antiquity. It is thought to have been the site of an ancient heiau (place of worship).
In 1845, King Kamehameha III established his official residence in a large commodious home on this site. This structure served five Hawaiian kings until its demolition in 1874 and its replacement by the larger and more modern palace completed in 1882.
The Palace area was originally enclosed by an eight-foot high coral block wall with wooden gates. Following the Wilcox Rebellion in 1889, it was lowered to 3'6". In 1891, it was topped with the present painted iron fence.
The four principle gates each display the Coat of Arms of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and have a distinctive name and purpose:
A decorative plaque from one of the four principal Palace gateways. It depicts the Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Hawai`i and bears its motto:
- Kauikeaouli - was named in honor of King Kamehameha III and used for ceremonial occasions
- Kina`u - was named after the mother of Kings Kamehameha IV and Kamehameha V and used by tradesmen
- Hakaleleponi - was named for Queen Kalama, consort of Kamehameha III and used by servants and retainers of the royal household
- Likelike - was given the name of Princess Likelike, sister to King Kalakaua and Queen Lili`uokalani and reserved for private use by the royal family
"Ua mau ke ea o ka`aina i ka pono"
"The life of the land is perpetuated in
The Sacred Mound
In 1825, a royal tomb of white-washed coral block was constructed to house the remains of Kamehameha II and his consort, Queen Kamamalu. Both had died of measles while on a journey to England the year before. For the next forty years, this royal tomb and the land immediately surrounding it became the final resting place for the kings of Hawai‘i, their consorts, and important chiefs of the kingdom. In 1865, eighteen coffins were removed from this site and transferred in a torchlight procession at night to a new Royal Mausoleum in Nu`uanu Valley.
The royal tomb area is located in the Southeast quadrant of the Palace grounds. It is marked by a fenced-in mound area out of respect for Hawaiian chiefs who may still be buried there.
What is "Kapu?"Kapu
means "forbidden," or "off-limits," but more importantly it also means "sacred" or "consecrated."
When visiting the Palace grounds, please respect the sanctity of the area and especially of the places marked Kapu
. These areas should only be entered by appropriate persons using appropriate protocols.
Photo: Michael D. Horikawa
Keli`iponi - The Coronation Pavilion
The Coronation Pavilion was built for the February 12, 1883 coronation of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapi`olani. It was moved from its original site near the King Street steps.
The Royal Hawaiian Band regularly gives concerts near the Coronation Pavilion, which has also been used for the inauguration of the Governors of the State of Hawai`i.
Hawai`i State Archives (colorized)
Halekoa - `Iolani Barracks
`Iolani Barracks, originally completed in 1871, was designed by architect Theodore Heuck to house the Royal Guard. This coral block structure contains an open courtyard surrounded by rooms once used by the guards as a mess hall, kitchen, dispensary, berth room, and lockup.
Following the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and the disbanding of the Royal Guard, `Iolani Barracks was used at different times as headquarters for the National Guard of Hawai`i, temporary shelter for refugees of the 1899 Chinatown fire, a service club, a government office building, and a storage facility.
The Barracks was originally located on what are now the grounds of the Hawai`i State Capitol. After being dismantled block by block, `Iolani Barracks was moved and reconstructed at its present location in 1965. It now houses The Palace Shop, ticket office, video theatre, and membership office.
Kana`ina Building - Old Archives
The Kana`ina Building was built in 1906 and was the first building in the U.S. erected solely for the custody and preservation of public archive materials. It was restored in 1987 and now houses the administrative offices of The Friends of `Iolani Palace and its Education Department and Membership Office.
Located in Downtown
`Iolani Palace is located in Oahu, in the Capitol District of downtown Honolulu, Hawaii, at the corner of King and Richards Streets at 364 South King Street. Vehicular entry is via Likelike Mall - off King Street, between the Palace and the Hawai`i State Library. For directions, map, parking options, and bus information, go to the Location/Map section.
Visit `Iolani Palace