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Doris Duke's Shangri La - A Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures in Hawaii

Doris Duke Shangri LaIn Hawaii, the term Shangri La refers to an Islamic style mansion located in the exclusive Black Point residential neighborhood near Diamond Head, just outside Honolulu. It was built by American heiress Doris Duke from 1936 to 1938.

Duke's honeymoon in various Islamic countries in 1935 inspired her to build the now-famous Hawaii landmark. She collaborated with architect Marion Sims Wyeth to create the spectacular abode with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.

Sitting on a 4.9-acre property, Shangri La includes interconnecting rooms, a playhouse (a scaled-down version of the Chehel Setun in Iran), swimming pool, courtyards, lanais, terraces, gardens, and numerous water features. Her extensive collection of about 2,500 Islamic art such as ceramic tile panels, carved and painted ceilings, jalis (perforated screen) doors, and windows, textiles and carpets decorate the mansion.

Some of the home's architectural elements were specially commissioned from contemporary artisans in India, Morocco, Iran, and Syria, utilizing traditional methods and designs to ensure authenticity.

Recognized as one of Hawaii’s most architecturally significant homes today, the mansion also serves as a museum for artifacts pertaining to Islamic art and culture. It is only accessible to the public via guided tours facilitated by the Honolulu Museum of Art.

The tours begin at the Honolulu Museum of Art and includes visits to the public rooms of the main house and portions of the grounds including Entry Courtyard, Foyer, Damascus Room, Central Courtyard, Living Room, Upper Lawn with views of the Playhouse, pool, and water terraces, Syrian Room, Mughal Garden, Mihrab Room, Dining Room, and covered lānai. Reservations in advance are required.


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