Singapore, even though is a small island, has rich historic sites. Started as a British colony, Singapore achieved its freedom in 1965 and in just a few decades has developed itself to become one of the most developed cities in the world. Millions of tourists visit the city from all over the world and explore its amazing historic sites.
If you’re planning to planning for a trip anytime soon, here’s the list of the best known historical places in Singapore.
1. Hong San See temple
A lovely little shrine, the Hong San See temple was constructed by the migrants from Fujian province between the year 1908 and 1913 with materials imported from China. There was a time when this temple overlooked the sea, but is now amidst tall buildings. The amazing part of this temple is that the roof of the temple is built without using a single nail. The granite columns of the temple are carved exquisitely with dragons and phoenixes and magpies. This temple has won the Award of Excellence in 2010 due to the immaculate condition of the building credited to the extensive restoration work.
2. Abdul Gafoor Mosque
The original mosque was built in the year 1859 with wood on a land that belonged to a Parsi. In the year 1887, Abdul Gafoor raised funds and built the present mosque that was completed in the year 1907. Beautifully built with bricks and colorful glass cupola, this mosque has withstood the stand of time with steady pillars built in the Roman style. The area around the mosque is surround by various Hindu temples and Roman catholic church.
3. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
A four storey Buddhist museum and temple, the Buddha Tooth Relic temple apparently houses the tooth of Gautam Buddha that was claimed to be found in a collapsed stupa in Myanmar. Opulently colorful with ornate interiors, this temple looks grand from the outside. At the top floor, stands a two-meter-tall solid gold stupa that weighs 420 kg. The inner chamber can be accessed only by the Buddhist monks, however visitors can view it from the gallery twice a day from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
4. Belle Vue House
Built by Singapore’s first architect in the year 1842 for the government surgeon Dr. Oxley, the country house of Belle Vue House was bought by Sir Manasseh Meyer a prominent Jew who built a second wing to his residence. When it was initially built, it was known as the Killiney house, a name that was changed to Belle Vue House after Meyer acquired the house.
5. House of Tan Yeok Nee
Located in the urban area of Singapore, this house was built in the year 1882 by the Chaozhou-born business tycoon Tan Yeok Nee. This is the last of the Four Grand Mansions built by Teochew tycoons in the late 19th century. It is believed that the reason for the sustenance of this mansion when the other three succumbed to the test of time is the fact that the house of tan Yeok Nee has a strong Feng Shui presence.
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6. Ban Siew San Temple
Also known as Guan Yin Tang, the Ban Siew San temple was built in 1880 by Wong Guan Teck, a Taoist from Hainan. The beautiful roof has two dancing dragons and a blazing pearl symbolizing the power and strength of the deities. The historical and cultural heritage of this temple makes this temple a strong spiritual abode for the devotees. Tourists come here to seek spiritual peace and also to admire the beautiful architecture.
7. Changi Museum
A memorial built to commemorate the wartime history of Singapore during the Japanese occupation, the Changi museum has the records of the civilians and Prisoners of War that were interned at the Changi prison. This museum was opened at its present site on February 15, 2001. It allows you to take a guided tour of 45 minutes where you can see letters and drawings by the prisoners describing their ordeal. Travel back in time through the photographs depicted and also listen to the audio files of that time.
8. Fort Siloso
The only coastal fort of Singapore that’s preserved and stands as a witness, Fort Siloso was built in the 19th century to defend the island from sea invasion. At the time of WWII, when the Japanese troops invaded Singapore, the canons were turned towards the land to support the ground troops. This well preserved fort, today, stands as a testimonial of rich history of pre WWI and WWII era cannons, and what remains of the fortified tunnels and military structures.
A peaceful historic building that was initially built as a chapel and a convent school, the Chijmes (pronounced as Chimes) was erected in the year 1841. It was later bought and used as a school for girls. Notably one of the most beautiful places of worship, the Belgian stained glasswork and the beautiful plasterwork of Chijmes have withstood the test of time. Today, the Chijmes area is more of an entertainment and lifestyle complex with bars and restaurants and some exceptional dining options.
10. St. Andrew’s Cathedral
The original church of St. Andrew’s Cathedral was built in a neo-classical style in the year 1836, but it was considered unsafe after two lightning strikes and was demolished in the year 1855. The second church was built in the year 1861 on the same premises and was sanctified on 25 January 1862. This cathedral also served as a military hospital in 1942 before the fall of Singapore to the Japanese.
Singapore’s historical places on one hand speak volumes about the atrocities of the invasions by the British and the Japanese and on the other offer the tourists a multi-ethnic feel of the influence of various cultures over the centuries. Take a tour of these historical places in Singapore and move back in time with the exquisite architecture and rich history.