Set Current Location
Sir Raffles' Statue, the founder of Singapore, is at the center of this square situated on the bank of the Singapore River at North Boat Quay in the heart of the Civic District. Raffles is said to have landed on this site January 28th, 1819, and as the plaque on the statue reads: changed the destiny of Singapore from an obscure fishing village to a great seaport and modern metropolis." Made of pure white poly marble, the statue is a cast of the original effigy located in front of the Victoria Theater & Concert Hall.
The founder of modern Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, has two statues built in his memory. The first is a dark bronze statue, depicting him standing and staring contemplatively with his arms folded. It was unveiled at its original location in the Padang in 1887 and transferred to its present site at the Empress Place a century later. While the other one is in Sir Raffles Landing Site at the banks of the Singapore River to mark the spot where Raffles first set foot on the island in 1819.
The first Siamese King ever to tread on foreign grounds was King Chulalongkorn and his choice of destination, Singapore. Soon after his eight-day visit in 1871, the King conferred to the State this bronze Elephant Statue as a token of appreciation for the hospitality received during his stay here. Several other similar statues were presented to other cities, but this one is considered most special because it marks the first visit by a Siamese monarch to a foreign country. The statue initially took its place before the Victoria Memorial Hall and was later moved to its present location at the Old Parliament House in the year 1919.
Built in 1929, the Elgin Bridge was named after Lord Elgin, the then governor-general of India. Its purpose was to link the Chinese merchants on the southern side of the Singapore River to the Indian traders on the northern side. The first bridge over the river was built on this very site in 1819, hence the name of the two roads leading to it - North Bridge Road and South Bridge Road. At either end of Elgin Bridge are cast-iron lamps, with roundels at the base depicting a lion under a palm tree.
Declared a sovereign nation only as recently as 1965, Singapore has quickly grown to be a global force to be reckoned with, all the while preserving its long-standing repute as a multi-ethnic society of diverse cultures and one of the world's safest cities. The Singapore skyline is one of the world's most recognizable, a dazzling collection of skyscrapers like monumental spires of glass, anchored by icons like the Marina Bay Sands' nautical themed silhouette, and the soaring Singapore Flyer. In recent years, efforts to redefine Singapore as the 'City in a Garden' have been undertaken with full gusto. With its towering Super Trees and themed enclaves, the Gardens by the Bay best encapsulate this vision; a wholesome, liveable city with a sustainable environment. A haven for shoppers too, the city boasts gigantic malls as well as eclectic boutiques, local markets, independent art galleries, and local shops selling everything from Chinese medicine to silk tapestries. Meanwhile, the city's love affair with food is evident by the sheer variety of offer with street food markets facing off against Michelin-starred restaurants, the harborside a flurry of hidden gems and quirky bars. Scattered in between are heritage homes, religious sites and a whole host of museums that attest to the city's vibrant history.
Near Cavenagh Bridge stands a prominent white obelisk resembling the Cleopatra Needle on London's Thames embankment. Designed by John Turnbull Thomson, it was built to commemorate the visit of the British Governor-General of India, Marquis Dalhousie, in 1850. A strong advocate of free trade, Dalhousie was warmly received by the local leaders, traders and residents. His visit was considered significant, symbolizing that Singapore was finally gaining recognition from the higher authorities. After he left, funds were raised and the memorial built. Even today, the Dalhousie Obelisk stands as a symbol of free trade.
At the northern bank of the Singapore River near Cavenagh Bridge stands this robust neoclassical structure named in honor of Queen Victoria. Designed by chief engineer Major McNair, the Empress Place Building was built in 1865 with a beautiful facade adorned with Doric columns and rustic French windows topped by ornate fanlights. Initially a courthouse, it had become the headquarters for some government offices by the 1960s. After a profound refurbishment, it was introduced to the public in 1989, its premises taken over by an art gallery, souvenir shops and eateries. You ought to visit the place when you come to Singapore.