A lot of people go to Hawai’i and lounge on the beach or snorkel in the crystal clear waters. I, on the other hand, spent my time visiting historical and cultural sites. Here are some more of those sites from my trip to Oahu in 2013.
Ulupō Heiau State Historic Site
Kailua was the political seat of power on O’ahu before Kamehameha and was occupied by O’ahu chiefs as far back as the 1400s. Not far from the heiau was Kawai Nui, a large fishpond, and irrigated fields of taro. The stones may have been quarried from Kualoa, 10 miles away.
From this spot off the Kalanianaole Highway you can see the islands of Lanai, Molokaʻi, and Maui (if the weather is really clear).
Puʻu O Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site
The name of the largest heiau on Oahu translates to “hill of escape.” It was probably constructed in the 1600s, with additions in the 1700s.
Kualoa Regional Park
A lovely little park and beach area on Kāneʻohe Bay with a view of the small island Mokoliʻi.
Tantalus Drive and Round Top Drive
These roads, built in 1917 and paved in 1937, offer stunning views of Honolulu.
Nu’uanu Pali State Wayside
This section of windward cliffs is extremely steep, but Native Hawai’ians used to traverse it easily at the spot where the wayside is. This pass-through connects the windward and leeward sides of the island. In 1795 it was the site of the Battle of Nu’uanu, in which King Kamehameha’s army overwhelmed Oʻahu leader Kalanikupule. Eventually Kamehameha’s army trapped the Oʻahu warriors between them and the 1,000 foot cliff drop, and more than 700 plummeted to their deaths.
On the way to Manoa Falls
It started pouring halfway to Manoa Falls, and I had neither jacket nor umbrella, so unfortunately I didn’t make it to the falls. But the trail to it was lovely.
Mausoleum of King William Charles Lunalilo
Excerpted from the plaque on this mausoleum reads: “King Kamehameha V died on December 11, 1872 without namig a successor t the throne. Prince William Charles Lunalilo was the highest rankig chief at that time. Instead of claiming his birthright to the throne, he wanted the people to choose their next ruler in a democratic way. Lunalilo requested a special election which pitted him against David Kalākaua, a high chief, but not of the Kamehameha line. Seven days later on January 8, 1873, an entire city cheered as the legislature proclaimed that Lunalilo was not only ‘the people’s choice’ for king but ‘the legislature’s choice’ too…King Lunalilo died at 39 years of age on February 3, 1874. He had reigned for only 1 year and 25 days…By being buried at the cemetery with the common people he loved he felt he would be closer to them.”
Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site
Kawaiahaʻo Church derives its name from the Hawai’ian phrase “Ka wai a Haʻo” because it was built over a freshwater pool belonging to High Chieftess Haʻo. Built between 1836 and 1842 out of slabs of coral rock cut from the nearby shores, this is the oldest Christian church on Oahu.
These are some of the oldest Christian structures on Oahu. The missionary period, from about 1820-1863, was one of extreme violence, enslavement, and exploitation of Native Hawai’ans.
Construction began on this palace in 1879, and by 1882 King Kalākaua and Queen Kapiʻolani moved in. It was the official residence of the Hawai’ian monarch until 1893 when a bunch of white dudes overthrew Queen Lili’uokalani and imprisoned her and took over the sovereign kingdom for the US.