May 24, 2017

Fort Canning Park

Most major cities in the world has a park in the city.  Singapore has several but actually most of them are like giant garden with its manicured lawn, sculptures, nicely trimmed hedges and small puny little trees and shrubs. The only place that come close to being a park in the city is the Fort Canning Hill Park. This is a 18 hectare park situated on a hill overlooking the Singapore River with a very interesting history so interesting that the Heritage Board or whatever authorities had an archaeological dig there and part of the dig site has been left for visitors to view.

In the old days, Fort Canning was also known as the Forbidden Hill where in the early days the Malay rulers were supposingly buried there.  Hence the place became a sacred hill. Even till today, there is a shrine or Keramat of one such ruler, Iskandar Shah.

Interestingly beside the Keramat which is Malay in nature, there is another cemetery on Fort Canning and this one belongs to the European. 

When Sir Stamford Raffles came to Singapore, he set up his base at Fort Canning and Fort Canning became Government Hill and all things associated with the earlier colonial rulers including cemetary sprung up there. In the later year, the British set up a fort there to “defend” against the Japanese. And because it is a fort, naturally there are bunkers

Big guns

and military barracks which have now been preserved and converted into Fort Canning Hotel which unfortunately is not drawing in the crowd despite its rich history and beauty

and Fort Canning Centre which has undergone many transformation from a commercial mall to a drama centre to an art studio to its current empty state.

Of course being a Fort, there has to be big mighty door like this


And this more elegant gateway 

Apart from the stuff for defending the hill, surprisingly there is also a lighthouse or something that looks like that on Fort Canning. This is I think a replica of the real thing and is no longer functional

And just next to it i a flag staff with the flags of all the countries that the ships came from.

And behind the Lighthouse and flag staff is a Maritime Corner. I think it is some sort of mini museum now though previously it was probably the office of the lighthouse workers

Beside all these, this is still a park so there are nice sculptures  

landscape corners 

And last but not least, eerie looking trees!

And there even a closed reservoir.

So many things to see for such a small little place. Worth a visit for those who like history and something a bit more natural and rustic as opposed to the artificial Garden by the Bay

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