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Souvenirs from Hawaii
Hawaii are not only the ultimate paradise of tropical beauty and all day indulging but also a charmed place where visitors can experience more than just the perfect combination of clear water, fine sand and perfect sun tan. The six islands which make the 'Aloha state' are said to be among the most stunning natural beauties around the globe from the epic Napali Coast with its unreal cliffs situated on the Kauai Island to Oahu's Waikiki beach and the splendid white sands of Papohaku on Molokai Island. Dare to swim with the dolphins on Lanai Island or to be amazed by the spectacular volcanoes of Hawaii the Big Island. Whichever direction you choose to turn around to, amazing scenery will take your breath and heart away. Tourists are now welcome to keep Hawaiian memories alive with fridge magnets, keychains, souvenir plates and T-shirts available online.
The Hidden Treasures of Hawaii
The historical landmarks spread across Hawaii's islands are definitely worth exploring alongside the mysterious little beaches hidden away from tourists' noise and an incredibly rich and old culture of intense colours, flavours and spirituality. Surfing its clear waters, whale watching, learning how to master the dance of traditional 'hula' and even taking a deep breath and dare to walk on one of its famous volcanoes have long been cliches; yet there are still so many well hidden treasures of Hawaii that a professional camera and a single trip to this out-of-this-world paradise will simply not be enough. Located in the Northern part of the Hawaii Islands, the beautiful and mysterious Kauai is also believed to be the oldest. Its undisputable charm makes it an ideal venue for loners: along the famous Coconut Coast, visitors can indulge into sunbathing with stunning scenery of unforgettable beauty. The dramatic cliffs of the Napali or the unreal Canyon of Waimea are all situated on Kauai and even the state's single navigable water - the Wailua River is set in this outstanding piece of paradise.
Oahu and Molokai, the Surfers' Paradise
Hawaii's Oahu is a cosmopolitan modern island which has been rightfully chosen as the capital of the state; packed with contemporary history museums such as the Pearl Harbour Museum or exciting entertaining venues to fit the young at heart, Oahu is the most visited as well as a paradise for unconventional surfing. The waters of North Shore or the Waikiki Beach are known for attracting surfers from around the globe all year long. Nuuanu Pali offers dramatic breathtaking views from higher altitudes for those who would like a bit of a break from swimming and surfing. For splendid white sandy beaches and an intense journey into a fascinating Native Hawaiian legacy whose ancient roots are worshipped and celebrated, try Molokai: home of Kaunakakai harbour and naturally beautiful, Molokai also prides itself with housing the Kalaupapa National Historical Park.
Lanai and Maui, the Luxury of Escape
For an utterly luxurious experience Lanai is the perfect island to escape to. Its amazing natural beauty with the Keahiakawelo rocky shapes and one of the best beaches in Hulopoe Bay makes it a romantic site but a walk along the Munro Trail or a visit to Lanai City for an utterly indulging shopping experience are as alluring. Maui, the second biggest Hawaiian island and one of the most popular has been famously home to some of the best beaches around the globe. Once in a lifetime moments such as whale watching in Lahaina, enjoying a spectacular sunrise in Makena or visiting the historical parks of Iao Valley or Haleakala are all part of the package.
Hawaii, a Polynesian Beginning
Officially the recent history of Hawaii started in 1959 when the islands became part of the United States but Hawaii is full of mystical stories of ancient times. The first island to be populated by the Polynesian tribes after the 5th century was the Big Island and the legends of their arrival in this paradisiacal new home are shrouded in magic. They are said to have travelled for more than 3,000 kilometres in long canoes from the Islands of Marquesas. Five centuries later, the Tahiti people arrived in Hawaii and their religious beliefs were soon imposed and spread across the islands. Over the centuries, periods of conflict between competing leaders and times of artistic flourishing lead to an unprecedented and unique culture out of which the world famous 'hula' and even surfing originated. At the end of the 18th century, a different episode in the history of the Hawaiian Islands began when James Cook arrived at the Bay of Waimea situated on the Kauai Island only to be killed the next year. The 'opening to the West' era also brought a new political organisation: at the beginning of the 19th century, the local North Kohala united the islands into one big kingdom.
From the Hawaii Kingdom to the 'Pineapple Island'
Throughout the 19th century, Hawaiian history has been marked by a booming trade focused on whales with the influence of European countries and the USA growing steadily. At the end of the 19th century, the USA supported a movement which finally put an end to the long lasting Kingdom and eventually the islands became officially part of the USA in 1898.Throughout the 20th century Hawaii have been perceived as an open paradise for immigrants as its natural resources (mainly sugar and pineapple) were heavily exported making Hawaii the world renowned 'Pineapple Island' and a flourishing economy; it is the fascinating mixture of different cultures which still makes the state so unique today. During the Second World War, Hawaii played a crucial role in the outcome of the greatest world conflict: in 1941, Oahu's Pearl Harbour was attacked and in 1945 on the Missouri Ship in Pearl Harbour, Japan acknowledged its defeat which put an end to the war. Not long after, in 1959, Hawaii was the 50th state of the USA and brought its welcoming sunny spirit to United States' melting pot.
'Hula', the Art of Happiness
Perhaps one of the most iconic symbols of the Hawaiian Islands is the 'hula', an old representation of the pure Hawaiian spirit through dance and an expression of the islands' cultural heritage and spirituality. 'Hula' stands for the sunny cheerful islanders and also speaks about their solar simplicity and beauty which makes it famous around the globe. Throughout time, 'hula' has been adapted to modernity and it is currently performed using contemporary rhythms and sounds (a dance called 'hula auana') but traditionally 'hula kahiko' was the original 'hula' whose spectacular rhythms and costumes spoke of ancient rituals and meanings. Nowadays the art of 'hula' is accessible to tourists and during Hawaiian celebrations and festivals hula is performed much to the delight of the public. Within the Merrie Monarch Festival held every spring on Hawaii the Big Island the greatest 'hula' contest takes place making this a most wanted tourist attraction. It is nevertheless a celebration of the great Polynesian culture taught by a 'kumu hula' (teacher) in a 'hula halau' (school).