Travel Guide

Colonial District

Take a stroll down City Hall to see Singapore's national monuments, buildings replete with history. Like the City Hall, the Parliament House and St Andrew's Cathedral. See Singapore's national icon, the Merlion at the park opposite Fullerton Hotel, or take a shot with the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore.

The Merlion Park lies just opposite Fullerton Hotel. There, you'd find Singapore's national symbol, the Merlion, a half-fish, half-lion imaginary creature. This mascot of Singapore has its origins in Singapore's past names, Temasek (meaning Sea Town) and later Singapura (meaning Lion City). The park features a promontory with terraced seating, and a viewing deck that can hold up to 300 people. This is a fabulous vantage point for photographers keen on taking stunning shots of the Merlion against the city's modern skyline.

In direct contrast to the highly modern skyscrapers, turn into Shenton Way and follow the road down past Collyer Quay towards Esplanade Drive. You won't miss Fullerton Hotel, with its Neo-classical architecture and fluted Doric colonnades.

Just down the road from the park, you'll see Indochine Waterfront. The statue of the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, stands nearby, with the backdrop of the Victoria Concert Hall while a second replica statue stands guard at the Raffles' landing site.

For those who are more keen on the arts, the Victoria Concert Hall, the Arts House at the Old Parliament House and the Asian Civilisations Museum are all in the area.

The Old Parliament House is an example of Neo-Palladian architecture, completed in 1827. Over the years, the building has been refurbished and extended several times and its architecture replaced with Victorian architecture. Today, it's the Arts House, where music performances, art exhibitions and other functions are regularly held.

The final stop at this area is the Asian Civilisations Museum, which took over the Empress Place Building in 2 March 2003, with their collections ranging from Chinese civilisation and other areas of Asia.

Walking down Fullerton Road, you'll get to the Singapore Cricket Club and one corner of the Padang. The wide open field holds huge national significance, as the Padang has been the site of several National Day celebrations.

Visit the Old Supreme Court building which was actually made up of two houses belonging to Edward Boustead, and the refurbishment of this building made it the last Classical building built in Singapore.

The City Hall was built from 1926 to 1929, known as the Municipal Building then. The Japanese used the building for civic issues while conducting political affairs in the building and British prisoners-of-war were rounded up here to march to POW Camps. In 1951, it became the City Hall as Singapore was granted city status.

The City Hall and the Old Supreme Court Building will eventually be converted into the National Art Gallery of Singapore in 2012.

Also to be found at the Padang, the Lim Bo Seng Memorial serves as a monument to the heroic anti-Japanese resistance fighter in World War II. It stands near the much bigger War Memorial, more commonly known among Singaporeans as the 'Chopsticks'.

Historical landmarks in Singapore await. Read up on the illustrious history and appreciate the unique colonial architecture of these buildings, a rare sight in ultra-modern Singapore.


Search ComeSingapore for articles, events and directories matching your keywords.