Ulupō Heiau – Kailua, Hawaii - Atlas Obscura

Ulupō Heiau

Hidden behind a YMCA stands the remains of a ceremonial site that dates back hundreds of years, whose ground is still considered sacred to many Hawaiians. 

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Hidden behind a YMCA stands the remains of the Ulupō Heiau, a temple that could date as far back as the 1400s, whose ground is still considered sacred to many Hawaiians. This heiau is 140 by 180 feet and the remaining walls stand up to 30 feet tall.

A heiau is a traditional place of worship, refuge, and ceremony in Hawaiian culture. This site was likely used for multiple purposes over time, from rites and ceremonies related to planting and harvest to success in war.

The stones used to build this site were brought in from far away—according to records, some of the stones came from Kualoa, which is located more than 10 miles away. So who carried and arranged the massive rocks that make up this heiau? According to local legend, the credit goes to a mystical people called the Menehune who were known for being superb craftspeople and about three feet tall.

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