Lahaina, a historic Maui seaside town and a former capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, has been reduced to ashes by raging wildfires.
Beloved by tourists, this picturesque town, where the sun always seemed to shine, was filled with restaurants, shops and art galleries bustling with visitors.
Many of the tourists arrived on cruise ships, which anchored off the shore.
Besides the charm of the small town, tourists could enjoy an outlet shopping mall and nearby beaches.
But the most famous spot to take a snapshot and to hide away from the burning sun was the Banyan Court Park, featuring what was said to be the largest banyan tree in Hawaii, if not the U.S.
The banyan was planted by William Owen Smith on April 24, 1873, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Christian missionaries. Last April, Lahaina’s famous tree celebrated the 150th anniversary of its planting.
In the Hawaiian language, Lā hainā means “cruel sun”, describing the hot, dry climate.
As of Thursday, at least 36 people were dead in Hawaii’s wildfires, but rescuers warned that number may increase. The fires and strong winds damaged or destroyed hundreds of buildings and other structures in Lahaina.
For anyone who has ever set foot in this beautiful place, the Lahaina wildfires are an incomprehensible tragedy.