Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu, is the former home of Hawaii's kings and queens -- the only royal palace in the United States. Standing four stories high, the 10-room palace took four years to complete and nearly bankrupted the Hawaiian kingdom. It was built in a style architects call American Florentine. After the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchs, the palace became the capital.

The palace, where royalty lived for only 11 years, was restored in 1978, and you can now visit the mirrored and gilded throne room with the original thrones and a spectacular three-story stairwell but only on a guided tour that is a bit pricey but a must for those who want to experience Hawaiian history.

While you're downtown in Honolulu, you might want to stop by the beautiful black and gold Kamehameha Statue honoring Kamehameha The Great (1795-1819), who began the monarchy of Hawaii and united the Hawaiian Islands. The statue, which stands in front of St. Andrews Church, was shipped from France and then re-assembled in Hawaii.

The statue is in front of St. Andrews church because King Kamehameha IV fell in love with the architecture of the Church of England and founded the Anglican Church or Hawaii. You'll want to go inside the church to view the amazing handblown stained-glass with murals of Hawaiian dignitaries and monarchs.

Top image: Hawaii Tourism Japan
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