When one thinks of Singapore what comes to the mind is a clean, cosmopolitan and vibrant island city with many attractions like museums, theme parks, historic neighborhoods, casinos, exotic restaurants and nightlife to name a few. Singapore is a meeting point of many different cultures and has a history of being one of the significant centers of trade and commerce in this part of the world. Here we take a look at some of those attractions which give glimpses of its impressive history and colonial past.
Raffles Place is Singapore’s business and financial center. It is now surrounded by huge skyscrapers. UOB Plaza is one such building which has a public viewing hill house. room on the 28th floor. From here one can get a lovely view of the Singapore River, the Boat Quay and many other colonial structures.
The other attraction in this area is the Raffles Hotel and Museum. It is now a busy modern hotel but when it started way back in 1887 it had just a few bungalows on offer. The hotel still retains its colonial charm and ambience despite many renovations. The last renovation was in 1989. The museum displays items which will be of great interest to people with an interest in history. The items are from the period between 1880 to 1939 which includes postcards, letters, silverwares and old photographs of the city and other places in Southeast Asia.
The Singapore River:
The rich colonial heritage of Singapore is clearly visible if you take a boat ride or walk along this river which was once the trade and commerce artery of the city. Colonial buildings stand intact along the banks though many modern buildings have joined them in recent times. A ride in a colonial style boat available throughout the day is a must for visitors here.
The mouth of the river is marked by a statue of the Merlion, the mythical lion headed beast with a fish body that has become the picture postcard symbol of Singapore. Going up the river one will see the bridges that lead to Empress Place where the Victoria Concert Hall is located. This hall which regularly holds classical concerts these days was named in honor of Queen Victoria.
Located on top of a hill behind the Singapore History Museum is the beautiful green area of Fort Canning. In the olden days this hill was known as the Forbidden Hill. Javanese relics belonging to the 14th century Majapahit Empire have been found here. The shrine of Sultan Iskandar Shah, the last ruler of the old kingdom of Singapura is also located here. The hill is sacred for the Malays. These days the hill is a common venue for outdoor art events like ballets and dramas.
The Kranji War Memorial:
This is a quiet place well away from the rush of the city and is located in the northern area of Singapore. This is the final resting place for thousands of allied soldiers who lost their lives in the region during World War II. The place also maintains a register of names of the soldiers who fought in the war. This is also the place where Singapore’s presidents are buried.
Like all cities with a rich history, Singapore has many attractions reminding one about the events and times of the past. Other than the places discussed above, one should also visit the Old Parliament House, the Supreme Court and City Hall and the Padang which are worth seeing.