11 Top Historical Places You MUST VISIT in Singapore
11 Top Historical Places You MUST VISIT in Singapore
Singapore has a rich heritage. The National Heritage Board (NHB) does an excellent in preserving buildings with great heritage values in Singapore’s history. MrMaxicab has complied the 11 top historical places you MUST Visit in Singapore. There is simply so much you can learn from these historical places.
Changi Prison Entrance Gate, Wall and Turrets
Much of the original Changi Prison was demolised to make way for the current prison complex. However as Changi Prison holds a significant historical value in early Singapore . Part of its main architectural features, such as the entrance gate, a stretch of the prison wall and two turrets were conserved and gazetted as Singapore’s 72nd National Monument.
Changi Prison was a maximum security prison able to hold up to 600 criminals sentenced to long-term prison sentences during our colonised days.The steel and concrete build up was surrounded by high perimeter wall which made prison breaks practically impossible. It was designed with four turrets that functioned as watchtowers overlooking the compound.
The Prison also exemplified a ‘telephone-pole’ layout plan which was commonly adopted for prisons constructed during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It comprised two four-storey blocks of prison cells branching out from a central covered corridor which facilitated wardens’ quick access to the blocks.
After Singapore fell on 15 February 1942, Changi Prison became a Prisoner-of-War (POW) camp in Singapore. It also served as a transit camp for POWs who had been captured in Indonesia, before they were transported to other parts of the region.
Central Fire Station
The Central Fire Station is the oldest surviving fire station in Singapore. Situated in the business district area.This iconic building is a living monument to the local firefighting force. The first modern fire station to be built in 1904. The stations’s red-and-white colours is a distinctive characteristic of “Blood & Bandage Colours). An outstanding feature of this building is its lookout tower, which rises to a height of approximately 34 metres. This enable a fireman on duty to spot any outbreaks of fire. There is an heritage museum which you can visit at the station. On every saturdays morning, you can visit the station for a free public tour.
Sultan Mosque serves as a reminder of the Malay royalty. It was once the royal mosque of the Sultan Of Johor. In 1824, Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor signed an agreement with the British East India Company, which ceded Singapore to the British as a trading port. The British agreed to pay an annual stipend to the Sultan and his descendants, and to recognise Kampong Glam as the royal family’s asset. Sir Stamford Raffles later pledged a contribution of 3,000 Spanish dollars to the royal mosque’s building fund. The original mosque was a single-storey brick structure with a two-tiered pitched roof, an architectural feature typical of traditional Southeast Asian mosques.
Hajjah Fatimah Mosque
Hajjah Fatimah Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Singapore. Its unique eclectic architecture stands out from other mosques in Singapore, especially with its distinctively European-style minaret, which tilts slightly. The mosque bears testimony to the once thriving Muslim communities living in the vicinity who made significant contributions to Singapore. It is believed that Hajjah Fatimah was a wealthy businesswoman who married a Bugis merchant from Sulawesi, Indonesia). After the death of her her husband, she continued to manage the business with great success and amassed a considerable fortune. Before the mosque was built, her house was in the same plot of land. Thieves broke into her home and it was set ablaze on the second attempt. Hajjah Fatimah was fortunately away at that time and was unscathed. As a form of thanksgiving, she built a mosque on the present site and her house nearby.
Jamae Chulia Mosque
Jamae Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Singapore. Named after the Chulias which hailed from South India who were mostly traders and moneychangers. The Chulia Muslim community erected a mosque on the present site of Jamae Mosque 1826. The current mosque was built some years later, around 1830. It is sometimes referred to as Periya Palli (‘Big Mosque’ in Tamil).
Sri Mariamman Temple
Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple. Sri Mariamman Temple represents not just the age-old beliefs and customs of the Hindus, but also stands as a memorial to the philanthropic deeds of early Tamil pioneers. The temple compound was enlarged when an Indian landowner, gave some of his land to the temple. There is a granite slab in the temple commemorates this donation. The oldest sections of the present brick structure were constructed approximately 1843. Highly skilled craftsmen from India and even China were employed for the building project.
Thian Hock Keng
Thian Hock Keng ‘(Palace of Heavenly Happiness) is one of Singapore’s oldest Hokkien temples. Thian Hock Keng is a standing monument to the community spirit of Chinese pioneers in Singapore.
The temple’s history began when the first Chinese immigrants disembarked on the shore of Telok Ayer Basin, which lay along the present-day Telok Ayer Street. Upon their arrival, the Chinese – many from Fujian Province, China – visited a little shrine just in front of the shoreline to give thanks to Mazu, Deity of Seas, for their safe voyage. As the number of Chinese immigrants increased over the years, it was decided that a permanent temple should be built to replace the makeshift shrine.Construction of the new temple began in 1839 and was completed three years later. All the building materials were imported from China, and the intricate carvings and decorations were all crafted by artisans who hailed from Fujian Province. The total building cost was estimated to be 30,000 Spanish dollars. Donations came mainly from wealthy Hokkien businessmen and community leaders.Inscribed on a granite tablet set in the wall of the entrance hall is a list of donors who contributed to the construction.
The Armenian Apostolic Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator
The Armenian Apostolic Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator is Singapore’s oldest Christian church. It was the spiritual home of the small but influential Armenian community living here during the colonial period.Initially, the Armenian community worshipped in a makeshift chapel fashioned in the back premises of John Little & Company located at Commercial Square (today’s Raffles Place). Upon request, the British authorities then offered them a parcel of land at the foot of Fort Canning Hill for a permanent church. Local Armenians raised half of the construction cost for the new church; the remainder was borne by the Armenian communities in India and Java, as well as European and Chinese merchants in Singapore.
Saint Andrew’s Cathedral
Saint Andrew’s Cathedral is an Anglican place of worship and is the seat of the Anglican bishop of Singapore. The magnificent edifice has stood the test of time, bearing witness to the spread of Anglicanism in the region. The history of the Church of England in Singapore began when the British East India Company appointed a chaplain to the new trading port, which was under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Calcutta.
Former Telok Ayer Market (now known as Lau Pa Sat)
Affectionately known as Lau Pa Sat (‘Old Market’) by generations of Singaporeans, the Former Telok Ayer Market was one of Singapore’s oldest markets. The first Telok Ayer Market, opened in 1823, was a timber-and-attap structure located on the shore at the western end of Market Street. When the Mass Rapid Transit system was constructed in the mid-1980s, the Former Telok Ayer Market was taken apart piece by piece so that workers could install the train lines beneath the structure. A few years later, the historic structure was meticulously pieced back together after the track-laying project was completed and a new foundation was laid. It was then decided that the Former Telok Ayer Market would be converted into a festival market and was officially renamed Lau Pa Sat in 1989.
Former Hill Street Police Station
the Former Hill Street Police Station is prominently located at the junction of Hill Street and River Valley Road. The building served as a police station and also housed accommodation for officers and their families.The local police force traces its history to 1819.The six-storey building was described to be the biggest and grandest of its kind in Malaya. On the ground floor were the police station and other facilities such as garages, married constables’ quarters, a recreation and instruction ground, and a parade square. The upper floors comprised apartments for police officers. During the Japanese Occupation (1942–1945), the invading military forces seized control of Hill Street Police Station and Barracks. When the Allied powers launched their first air raids on Singapore in 1943, the Japanese Administration coated the entire edifice in brown camouflage paint, hoping that it would not stand out as a military target for Allied pilots. It was only in 1949, four years after the end of the Second World War, that the camouflage paint was finally replaced with a new coat of white paint.
There are more historical place that have been gazetted as National Monuments by the National Heritage Board. You can view them here. You can consider engaging MrMaxicab’s Singapore City Tour with a maxi cab Singapore. or if you have a larger than 7 passenger group you may consider our mini bus booking services. where you can cover all these historical places in a day!
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