Singapore might be just a small island but despite that it provides an extensive and vast variety of options for sightseeing. The rich ethnic and religious diversity of this place ensures that there is a wide range of places and activities to amuse the travelers in Singapore. For history buffs and otherwise one can find several fascinating historical sites in Singapore dating back to the days of the early settlers and colonial rule by the British. Some of the best examples of British architecture during the colonial times are found in Singapore.
Moreover there are several other monuments and memorials dedicated to the heroes of World War II. Thus people who are interested in the historical sites in Singapore would have a great choice to choose from. Here are some of the most renowned and famous historical sites in Singapore.
Abdul Gafoor Mosque
This is one of the oldest mosques located in the Serangoon Road of Singapore. A unique feature of the mosque is that it is built in a Hindu Tamil settlement of Singapore. Established in the year 1859 by Shaik Abdul Gafoor Shaik Hyder, the Abdul Gafoor Mosque had been declared a national monument in the year 1979.
The Attorney General Office
This building is one of the most historically significant structures of Singapore because of the fact that it was the first printing office of the Singapore government. Set up in the year 1910 on High Street, the current premises of this office shifted to the Upper Serangoon Road in 1976.
Belle Vue House
The structure was constructed by the first known architect of Singapore Coleman in the year 1842. The Belle Vue House was originally built for Dr Oxley, the most famous government surgeon of Singapore in the 1830s. Later, the house became the residence of Manasseh Meyer, the well known Jew philanthropist of Singapore.
Built in the year 1880, this temple is another piece of architecture that holds up the culture and heritage of Singapore. It was constructed by a Taoist hailing from Hainan, known as Guan Yin Tang. The location of the temple makes it a popular tourist spot because from this site you can enjoy the beauty of the sea and the surrounding hills.
St Andrew’s Cathedral
An Indian labor convict constructed this cathedral in the year 1861. In the year 1942, when the Japanese occupied Singapore during the World War, the cathedral was converted into a hospital to house the wounded and sick. The cathedral is a well known praying site for Anglicans today. It remains open from 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening for tourist viewing. A visit to this site will also help people escape the buzzing Singapore city life.
Also the official icon to promote Singapore tourism, this structure is a mythical figure which has been constructed as a half fish and half lion. Introduced in the year 1972, the figure receives its name from the location where it has been built, the Merlion Park of Singapore. Tourists can enjoy a view of the Merlion spouting water from the mouth during certain times of the day. If you cannot make it to the Merlion Park, visit the Sentosa Island of Singapore which has a similar statue of Merlion and also a beautiful natural surrounding which makes it the ideal place for photography.
Built in the year 1909, this bridge derived its name from the Governor of the Straits Settlement, Sir John Anderson. It is made of stone that has been shipped especially for the purpose from Egypt. The construction of the bridge was a joint venture of the Municipal Commissioners of Singapore Town and the government of Straits Settlement.
Among several other Portuguese influenced structures of Singapore, the church of St Peter and Paul is the most famous as a tourist site. It is a Roman Catholic church built during the period 1869 – 1870 by Father Paris. The three bells in the church, also contributed by Father Paris, are also world famous.
Kranji War Memorial and Cemetery
This memorial was built during the Second World War after the Japanese occupation of Singapore. The memorial was dedicated to the soldiers of the Allied Forces who gave their lives fighting during the War. Located in Woodlands Road, a visit to the memorial site will also introduce tourists to the Straits of Johor in Singapore, which provides a beautiful natural view.
This site was formerly the hub of Singapore trading activities. Even as late as the 1970s, the Singapore River in Clarke Quay saw the arrival and departure of cargo boats to and from different parts of Singapore and other countries. Special boats called the bumboats transfer and deliver wares to and from Clarke Quay.
Singapore Cricket Club / Padang
Built in the year 1852, during the colonial rule, Padang or Singapore Cricket club was famous as the recreation club of the British. Today, tourists can enjoy rugby, field hockey and soccer games at Padang. However when games are not held, a tour inside the club is not allowed. The architecture of the club has also caught the eye of historians for ages. A visit to Padang is never complete without a visit to nearby tourist sites such as the Empress Palace, the Singapore Supreme Court and the City Hall.
Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
This Roman Catholic church was built in the year 1822. The brilliant architecture of the site awarded it the honor of a national monument on July 6, 1973. The cathedral is actually the extended part of a more prominent church, the French Mission Singapore.
It is a Gothic chapel established in the year 1890. Tourists must visit the site to take a look at the brilliant wall frescoes, the plasterwork and the stained glasswork inside the chapel. The chapel complex houses boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, cafes and wine bars for visitors and residents. In fact, the waterfalls, fountains and forecourts built inside the Caldwell House of CHIJMES makes the site one of Singapore’s most famous entertainment spots.
This hotel is famous as the site that was frequented by the colonial elite like Somerset Maugham. Every visitor must visit the ballroom, the jewelry shop, the cake & pastry shop and the Long Bar situated within the Raffles Hotel. A walk in the courtyards of the hotel will give you a taste of the grandeur of the colonial period. The hotel also houses a museum that is open daily from 10 in the morning to 7 in the evening.
Set up in the year 1827, the building was constructed by architect George Coleman as a private house. However, it came to be known as the oldest public building of Singapore. Today, the building is home to the Parliament of the Republic of Singapore. Adding to the beauty of the Parliament House is a statue of a bronze elephant placed in front of the building. This was gifted to the Singapore government in 1871 by the King Chulalongkom of Siam.
The Changi Prison Chapel bears testimony to the memories of the fifty thousand soldiers and civilians, imprisoned by the Japanese troops during the World War II. New chapels have been constructed in replica of the chapels existent during the War. The Museum has records, photographs, and sketches of the prisoners housed here at that time.
Live the experience of Singapore on the fateful morning of 15th February when it fell into the hands of the Japanese. Through audio-visual effects and hi-tech simulations you can actually get a vivid picture of those bygone events.
The Bottle Box is placed in the hillside of Fort Canning and was the largest underground command center for the British Malaya Headquarters during the World War II. It is a bombproof complex and consists a long corridor with 22 rooms and the ability to recover its air supply.
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