Ali’iolani Hale – Honolulu, Hawaii - Atlas Obscura

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Ali’iolani Hale

Once the site of the Hawaiian monarchy, this building was originally designed as a palace.  


Ali’iolani Hale means “House of Heavenly Kings,” a fitting name for the impressive government building opposite Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu. Ali’iolani Hale is made from concrete blocks and a coral foundation with a central clock tower, arched entrance, and a larger-than-life gold-leaf statue of Kamehameha the Great. 

The building was originally designed as a royal palace for King Kamehameha V. When he ordered the construction, however, it was intended as a government building instead of a palace. Completed in 1874, the building was home to the legislature, judiciary department, and the first National Museum in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

A coup d’etat led from the Ali’iolani Hale on January 17, 1893, marked the overthrow of Queen Lili’uokalani and a transition to the provisional government that eventually became the Republic of Hawaii. At the Ali’iolani Hale, the declaration of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Island was read.

The Hawaii State Supreme Court, the judiciary’s law library, and the Judiciary History Center are all housed in Ali’iolani Hale today.

The Judiciary History Center is open to the public and interprets over 200 years of law on the island, from kapu law to the present. Permanent collections at the center include models of 19th-century Honolulu, original courthouse furniture, and recovered artifacts.

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Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (808)539-4999. Admission is free.

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