Modern days Singapore were built upon what the British has left us in its more than 100 years ruling of this little island and none is more obvious in the area around the City Hall neighbourhood where many magnificent buildings are still standing. Click here for a YouTube video archive (starting from 08:03) of the historical place filmed in 1938.
Once you exit from the City Hall MRT, you will see the historical St. Andrew’s Cathedral, which has been gazetted a national monument, built in 1856 and is still standing in this piece of super prime land. The Visitors Centre at the South Transept showcases a collection of artifacts, pictures and a video of the Cathedral’s history.
Next proceed to the another national monument, the majestic City Hall where the MRT station is named after. The building, together with the Old Supreme Court, is now renamed National Art Gallery. The National Art Gallery is currently undergoing transformation to convert the two buildings into a visual art gallery and is expected to be completed in 2013. City Hall and the Old Supreme Court building were two important heritage buildings symbolic of Singapore’s colonial past. The area had played host to many historical events such as the Japanese surrender to the British in 1945 and the declaration of Singapore’s independence in 1965 by then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Click here for photos of the buildings.
Next to the National Art Gallery is a cluster of historical buildings including Singapore Cricket club, Victoria Theatre, Asian Civilisation Museum, the Art House(Old Parliament House) and the Parliament House. It is here that you will see the Statue of Sir Stanford Raffles, The Fullerton Hotel and the Merlion (see Raffles Place for the descriptions of these icons).
Now follow the Esplanade Drive to visit the Esplanade – Theaters on The Bay which the locals affectionately call it the “Durian” due to the appearance of the buildings look like the husks of an opened durian (the king of fruits for the local). This controversial architectural icons was officially opened in Oct 2002 and shaped by its distinctive twin shells, it has been drawing two extreme reactions since its opening – you either hate it or love it.
Diagonally across the Esplanade is the War Memorial Park dedicated to the victims who perished during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore between 15 February 1942 to 12 September 1945. The remains of the unidentified war victims are buried beneath the monument. The park lies in between three big malls namely Raffles City Shopping Centre, Suntec and Marina Square. If shopping is not your thing, heads diagonally across to Raffles Hotel.
This is the only hotel in Singapore that bears the name of the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles. Established in 1887, Raffles Hotel is one of the county’s prestigous historical buildings and a national icon. The colonial-style hotel has been upgraded over the years, it also has its own shopping arcade and museum. Many famous celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor, Queen Elizabeth II and the late Michael Jackson, had stayed in this hotel.
It is a pretty good to end your City Hall Historical Tour here and head back to the City Hall MRT.
How to get there?
Take the MRT to City Hall station.
View askmelah tourist map in a larger map
Last updated on Dec 2009