On the island of Oahu lies the city of Honolulu, which is the capital and at the same time the largest city of the entire Hawaiian archipelago, which belongs to the United States of America. The city’s name comes from the Aboriginal language of the original inhabitants, where “honolulu” means “shell bay”.
The Hawaiian Islands had their only ruler until the archipelago was discovered by the first Europeans. In the period between 1790-1810, the islanders were forcibly united and ruled by Kamehameha the Great, who established a monarchy here. His statue is located in front of the “Aliiolani Hall” building today. The city of Honolulu was founded in 1816 and became the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1845.
According to existingcountries, Honolulu is currently the economic, cultural and educational center of Hawaii. About 400,000 people live here, more than half of whom are of Asian origin. Nevertheless, just a few kilometers from the metropolis you can find the peace and well-being of unspoiled virgin nature. The surroundings of the city are interwoven with a number of hiking trails that lead through the bamboo forest, for example, to the local cascading waterfalls. You cannot reach the higher positions, because access to them is prohibited for safety reasons. To get to them, one would have to climb the rock and hold on only to the roots of the trees crawling over it. The greatest danger is in case of heavy rains. Thus, tourists have to be content with the view from below, or with a bath in the small pools that the waterfalls create at their foot.
Perhaps the city’s biggest attraction is the popular Waikiki Beach lined with hotels and luxury villas. After sunset, the rays of the sun light up along the beach, creating a pleasant romantic atmosphere. On the coast stands a statue commemorating the two-time winner of the Olympic Games (1912 and 1920) in swimming Duke Pao Kahanamoku. He is also the founder of two important clubs – The Hiu Nalu (Wave Club) and the Canoe Club. The members of these clubs were the first believers and spreaders of surfing and the associated lifestyle. The biggest waves on the island of Oahu are found in the Northern Shore area, which attracts surfers from all over the world. On the southeastern coast of the island lies the famous Hanauma Bay with excellent conditions for snorkeling.
Waikiki Beach is connected to the Diamond Head volcanic crater, from where there is a wonderful view of the entire city. To the west of Honolulu is the famous military base in Pearl Harbor, which was attacked by Japan on December 7, 1941. Eight warships and at least ten other military vessels were sunk or damaged in the attack. Around two hundred military aircraft were also destroyed. More than 3,000 soldiers or sailors were injured or killed during the raid. Today, the USS Arizona Memorial stands in the harbor commemorating this event.
In Honolulu, you can visit the Waikiki Aquarium or the Honolulu Zoo, see the most important historical building, Iolani Palace, which served as a residence for the last Hawaiian queen, Liliuokalani. Another interesting place is the Polynesian Cultural Center near the town of Laie with replicas of the villages of the Polynesian peoples, where you can get an idea of the original life of the inhabitants.
Kalaupapa National Historical Park
The fifth largest island of the Hawaiian archipelago is Molokai, home to Kalaupapa Historical Park. It is situated on its eponymous Kalaupapa Peninsula near Halawa Bay. The place is known for the fact that between 1866 and 1969, people suffering from leprosy were placed in isolation here. These people were cared for here by the enlightened Father Damien, whose real name was Joseph DeVeuster.
The first group of sick patients was sent to the village of Kalawao in Kalaupapa on January 6, 1866. In the same year, the church of Siloam and St. Philomena. Father Damien was not indifferent to the fate of these people, so he tried to help them and focused on the issue of this disease. During its tenure, the village became home to thousands of leprosy victims who moved here from all over the Hawaiian archipelago. At the time, there was no cure for the disease and no treatment worked.
In 1980, Kalaupapa became a historical park, which now serves as a place for education and people can learn about the county’s past. Today, both Kalaupapa and the village of Kalawao are a beautifully landscaped and clean place surrounded by beautiful nature with rainforest, volcanic craters, coastal cliffs and coral seas. Rare and endangered species of plants and animals are also found in this area.