The Istana in Singapore


Istana is the office as well as the official residence of the President of Singapore. The word "Astana" means a "palace" in Malay and it's the place where the President hosts all his honorable guests and invitees. The Istana is housed in a large sprawling compound in the otherwise urban area of Orchard Road shopping strip. The British Government in the year 1867 first turned this vast 106 acres estate, where the Astana seats into the official residence of the British Governor. In the year 1959 when Singapore won the right of self-governance the Istana was taken over by Yang di ¯Pertuan Negara and subsequently the Istana became the residential place of the President.

Architecture of the Istana

The architecture of the Istana is inspired by the neo-Palladian style mansions of the 18th century constructed by the British engineers in India. It is similar in design to that of the Malay houses with conventional columns, large verandahs, paneled-doors, and louver- windows to facilitate ventilation. The three storied Tower Block is the centerpiece of the building standing tall at a height of 28 meters. The symmetrical 2 storied side wings of the building displays Doric, Corinthian and Ionic style architecture with the first storey adorned by Doric Arcades and the second storey designed with the Ionic Arcades. The Istana overlooks the garden, known as the Domain which resembles the great gardens of England.

The palace-ground contains:

  • The Sri Temasak Building which was built for the Colonel Secretary in 1869 and the Prime Minister also used to reside here.
  • Istana Villa which was built in 1938
  • The Annexe Building
  • The Japanese-Gun which was gifted to Lord Mountbatten after the Japanese surrendered in the year 1945.
  • The Lodge constructed in 1974.
  • The Lily Pond
  • The Marsh Garden


History of the Istana

Singapore's first Colonial Governor Sir Harry Saint George Ord instructed to construct the Istana and it was built within 1867-1869.Previously the Governor House, the Istana is housed in the same complex with the Temasak Building which once belonged to the colonial secretary.

Istana in the Present Day

Public are welcome to the Istana on 5 national holidays viz the Deepavali, National day, Labour Day, Hari Raya Puasa and the Lunar New Year .ceremonies and state-functions are also conducted on the grounds of the Istana.

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