Don’t forget to take your cameras out at these historical places but most importantly, don’t forget to learn some history lessons!
Besides being a bustling city for exciting events and activities… and also the food, Singapore’s pretty rich in culture and history as well – not to forget, the historical places. Former fishing villager or not, we’re mighty proud of our heritage.
Thian Hock Keng Temple
We’re lucky to be working on the same street as some of Singapore’s historical monuments. Known for being the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore – and the most important temple to the Hokkien clan here, this place of worship is dedicated to Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea. With its remarkable architecture and history, the restored-to-perfection Thian Hock Keng Temple is one of Telok Ayer’s biggest gems. Detailed carvings and sculptures pepper the architectural masterpiece’s interiors, while gorgeous encaustic tiles make for interesting photos, but as with any place of worship, proceed with caution and respect.
Thian Hock Keng Temple, 158 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068613.
Loaded with history, the Battlebox, located in the lush Fort Canning Park served as a bomb-proof bunker of Britain’s Headquarters Malaya Command in World War II and also the spot where a lot of crucial decisions were made – It was inside the Battlebox that the British decided to surrender Singapore to the invading Japanese on 15 February 1942. Entry to the Battlebox will only be through guided tours so remember to book in advance! Post-tour, you can also visit a replica of Raffles’ house which is also in the park.
The Battlebox, 2 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179622
Built in 1824 by the first sultan of Singapore, Sultan Hussein Shah, this magnificent mosque is the biggest in Singapore. The prayer hall can accommodate up to 5000 people in mass prayer. Besides taking in the grand architecture of the mosque, make the time to walk around the Arab Quarters where the mosque is located. Allotted by Raffles to the sultan and made to be a Muslim settlement, the zone attracted Malays, Sumatrans and Javanese, as well as traders from what is now eastern Yemen to become one of Singapore’s popular historical places, Arab Street. A mix of old and new, check out heritage shops in the area.
Sultan Mosque, 3 Muscat Street, Singapore 198833
More than just a gastrohub of restaurants and eateries, CHIJMES’ history goes way back to the 50s. Formerly the complex for the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ), the institute was a girls’ school run by French Catholic nuns. In 1990, the place was declared a national monument and has remained an icon in Singapore’s history and architecture. CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996
Sri Mariamman Temple
In bustling Chinatown, you’ll find the one of the most treasured historical places here, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore: Sri Mariamman. The temple was constructed for the worship of Goddess Mariamman, believed to be the ‘goddess mother’ of South Indians and the bringer of rain and prosperity. Fun fact: the temple was originally supposed to be built on Telok Ayer Street but it was deemed unsuitable as freshwater supply required for rituals were unavailable nearby. It remains to be an iconic gem in Singapore’s heritage and the ornate and details in architecture still prove to be fascinating for anyone.
Sri Mariamman Temple, 244 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058793
Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall
This recently renovated centre of performing arts may awe you with its mix of modern and classic architecture but when it was built over a century ago, the building was known as the Town Hall and Victoria Memorial Hall and served different purposes through history. During the second World War, as with many other historical places and buildings, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall was utilised as a hospital. These days, it’s picturesque as ever and home to the performing arts.
Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, 9 Empress Pl, Singapore 179556
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