You will never run out of parks to visit in Singapore. But last weekend, I was itching for some historical bits of the country. I found the Empress Palace, Esplanade Park & War Memorial Park Walking Trail from the NParks website and decided to the Saturday afternoon around the Singapore River visiting a number of spots recommended by the trail.
I didn’t expect that this small part of the city is packed with monuments, sculptures (see my previous post about the People of the River sculptures) and museums. Add to that the heritage trees scattered along the trail. History plus nature—I could’t ask for more.
Built in 1868 by Indian convicts based on Singapore, the historical Cavenagh Bridge is the oldest bridge across the Singapore River. It is narrower than what it was used to be to give place for government buildings and the current financial buildings.
A symbol of free trade, the Dalhousie Obelisk was built to commemorate the visit in 1850 of then Governor-General of India, Lord James Andrew, Marquis of Dalhousie.
Asian Civilisations Museum
This museum, also located at the Empress Place, is the first museum in the region showcasing the integration of the rich cultures in Asia. It promotes awareness and appreciation of the multi-ethnic heritage of Singapore.
The Arts House at the Old Parliament
Built for residential purposes then used for government offices, this is the oldest government building in Singapore. It was also occupied by the judiciary in 1939 before the present Supreme Court was built. With the completion of the new Parliament House, it was renamed the Arts House at the Old Parliament displaying memorabilia of the political history of Singapore and various art galleries of sociopolitical significance.
Singapore’s first pedestrian underpass
Built in 1964, this underpass connects Esplanade Park and Connaught Drive.
Right opposite the Cavenagh Bridge is the beautifully arched structure of the Anderson Bridge built in 1909. It replaces the Cavenagh Bridge when the latter was restricted from vehicles.
Queen Elizabeth Walk
This esplanade got its current name in honor of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Used to be famous for its Satay Club from 1970 until its removal in 1995, it is still a favorite place for people to relax and just enjoy the view of the sea and the city’s skyline.
Lim Bo Seng Memorial
This 3.5-metre marble pagoda was built to honor the martyrdom of Major General Lim Bo Seng who was tortured and killed by the Japanese after he headed an anti-Japanese resistance movement during World War II.
Indian National Army Marker
Another piece of WWII history and evidence of heroism during the Japanese occupation is this marker dedicated to an unknown soldier of the Indian National Army. It was also built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII.
Unveiled in 1922 by the Prince of Wales, who later became King of England, and declared as a national monument in 2010, the Cenotaph remembers the British soldiers who died during the world wars.
Friends to our Shore
Near the Cavenagh Bridge are busts of important personalities and leaders who made significant contribution in shaping the world’s modern history. It is Singapore’s elite club called “Friends to our Shore” for those influential individuals whose origins and works have created a strong connection to and impression upon Singapore. Included in the club are Polish-English writer Joseph Conrad (unveiled in 2004); Father of modern Vietnam Ho Chi Minh (unveiled in 2008); Filipino revolutionary leader Jose Rizal (unveiled in 2008); Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (unveiled in 2010) and India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (unveiled in 2011). I only learned that Joseph Conrad and Jose Rizal have their own busts when I searched the internet. I guess I didn’t walk further around the Asian Civilizations Museum where these busts are located.
I will definitely go back and find the bust of Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. In the meantime, check this blog for more information.
I missed a number of spots along this walking trail when 5 jets streaked across the bright blue sky and loud bangs coming from the Marina Bay startled us. We found out at that there was a National Education Show 2 being held as part of the National Day 2012. We stayed with the huge crowd to witness aerial exhibition of the country’s air force and sailing of the navy ships. A grand fireworks display concluded the event. I will write a separate post on that.
Ciao for now!