Being the urban jungle that it is, Singapore is renowned for its soaring skyscrapers and distinctive landmarks that make up the cityscape. For years, Singapore’s metropolis image has been accentuated with the architectural feats that represent and encapsulate the soul of the country. So it’s not surprising that one of the best ways to acquaint yourself with the city would be to explore and uncover the distinctive architecture of Singapore. Here are some iconic landmarks that capture the beauty and soul of Singapore.
Iconic Landmarks in Singapore
The former residence of the Senior Magistrate’s clerk has been around since the 1800s. Today, the structure has been revamped to include an array of bars, shops and restaurants. The site and its entirety take visitors back to the bygone era. Its marble waterfalls, green lawns and neoclassical buildings and courtyards will leave you wondering if you’re still in Singapore. CHIJMES started off with one building known as the Caldwell House before it was bought over and converted into a Catholic convent school for girls. Over the years, the complex was renovated and reconstructed to serve different purposes. Even today, the site retains its harmonious and tranquil of its yesteryears.
The iconic esplanade has captured the hearts of Singaporeans for being fashioned after the king of fruits, the durian. Sporting the spikey exterior similar to the fruit, the iconic 60,000 sq metre structure functions as a Performing Arts centre that hosts a myriad of performances all year round. There are several free shows, annual festivals and many other performances that showcase local arts and the cultural scene of Singapore. Since its establishment in 2002, Esplanade has become vibrant dining, shopping and entertainment centre that will keep you engaged and entertained for hours.
Even if you’re new to Singapore, there’s a high chance that you may have seen the Merlion. The mythical creature, which presents itself as half-fish and half-lion, has been Singapore’s icon since the 70s. Essentially, the Merlion is the culmination of two components of Singapore’s identity. For one, its body symbolises Singapore’s early days as an island of fishing villages, while the lion head of the statue refers to Singapore being the “lion city” (“Singapura” in Sanskrit).
As Asia’s largest observation wheel, the Singapore Flyer stands 165 metres above the ground. Since its inception in 2008, the tourist attraction provides stunning and unforgettable views of the Marina Bay, the Singapore River, Padang and other historical landmarks of the city. The site is popular not just tourists, but also locals looking to spend some time up high with a vantage point to kill for. During the annual Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, the Singapore Flyer serves as a picturesque and distinctive backdrop. There are 28 fully air-conditioned glass capsules that take about 30-minutes for a full rotation. To take your experience up a notch, you can always dine, sip on cocktails or Champagne when you sign-up for Singapore Flyer’s special in-flight packages. The sky dining experience comes with personalised butler service, four-course menu, and wine-pairing options.
Old Parliament House
The Old Parliament House, which is now known as The Arts House, is one of the oldest colonial architecture in Singapore. The building has stood the test of time and now plays host to a number of arts and cultural events that highlight the vibrant art scene of Singapore. Additionally, there are performances, workshops and other activities that you can attend and engage in as well. Moreover, there are children’s programmes that seek to cultivate creativity and get children involved in the lively art scene of Singapore. In the past, the Arts House has played host to some of the biggest art and cultural events in Singapore, including the International Festival of Arts, the Golden Point Award and renowned Singapore’s Writer’s Festival.
Defined as “palace” in Malay, The Istana serves as the official residence and office of the President of Singapore. The site is noted to receive and entertain some of the most important government leaders and state guests of the world. Be sure to mark your calendar as The Istana is open to the public on selected days each year. During this period, attendees will be able to enjoy a variety of performances that will take place during the Open House. This is also one of the best times to join a guided tour of the Istana building. Learn about the rich history of the building from knowledgable volunteer guides, before taking a Nature Guided Walk to gain a deeper insight into the rich flora and fauna species that thrive on the Istana grounds. If you want to bring a piece if this place back home, consider purchasing some Istana souvenirs, including the President’s Challenge memorabilia. It will be for a good cause too, as all proceeds will be donated to charities that are supported by the President’s Challenge.