Explore > Culture & Heritage > Places of Worship

Armenian Church

By: joyceho on 15 Jun 2012
60 Hill Street, Singapore 179366

(+65) 6334 0141

Operating Hours:
Daily from 9am to 6pm


Visit the Armenian Church, the oldest Christian church in Singapore. It is designed by George Drumgoole Coleman in order to create a unique semblance to classical and Armenian architecture.

Coleman's designs were influenced heavily by Armenian architecture, although he did make some rather clever provisions for Singapore's tropical climate. The wide verandahs provide essential shade and shields the timber-louvred windows from torrential rains. The pews usually are completely made in wood, but to create a cooler environment, the seats are backed with woven rattan. Stylistically following the British Neo-Classical tradition, this long-standing church was gazetted as a national monument on 6 July 1973.

The exterior possesses a tall spire which soars a good way above the rest of the church. Doric columns, with balustrades on both sides, hold up the white portico. The interior spaces of the church contain a vaulted ceiling and cupola - in its true Armenian architecture spirit. Above the altar is a painting of Christ and his Apostles at the Last Supper.

Take a contemplative walk along the Memorial Garden with the tomb markings of Armenians who died in Singapore, representing the tight community that were held between the influential Armenians that lived during those times, including the Sarkies Brothers who founded Raffles Hotel, Agnes Joaquim who hybridised Singapore's national flower - the orchid Vanda 'Miss Joaquim', and Catchick Moses who co-founded the Straits Times. An interesting fact about this Memorial Garden is that it is not a burial ground - the tombstones were actually brought over from the Bukit Timah Cemetery.

Armenia, a country that is landlocked and mountainous, that lies in the Caucasus region of Eurasia situated at the juncture of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. With the increasing number of Armenian families migrating to Southeast Asia from as early as the 1830s, the Armenians eventually decided a place of worship had to be built.

Visit the Armenian Church to see how the colonial architects conceptualised a design that both adhered to the traditional Armenian architecture as well as adapted the design to Singapore's weather, while exercising a localised sensitivity that is unique to this church. Admire the architecture and then read about the more famous Armenians who had contributed to Singapore's economy.

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