Fort Canning Park

Fort Canning Park

You have a unique opportunity to visit "the forbidden hill" and see for yourself the historical monuments that witnessed a lot of important events happening on the island. The hill once used to house the palaces of the Malayan rulers, here they were also buried, which is proved by the artifacts found in the park during the archaeological excavations. There artifacts are now on display at the park. The locals considered the hill sacred, naming it Bukit Larangan, which meant "the forbidden hill" in Malayan. Even centuries past they avoided climbing on its top! Stamford Raffles, the founding father of Singapore, was not a man of superstition and after evaluating the strategic advantages of the hill's location, which were a great observation point to see the enemy's moves on the sea, built a residence of his here. So the hill was named the Government Hill. In 1822 Raffles established the first Botanic garden here, which today is the Spice Garden, a smaller copy of Raffles' garden.

In 1860 the British authorities constructed here a fort with a weapons depot, barracks and a hospital. It was decided to name the fort in honor of Viscount Charles John Canning, the former Governor General of India. During the years of the Second World War an underground bunker was located under the fort. Lieutenant Arthur Percival established a command point here making attempts to protect the island from the Japanese invasion. It was in that bunker that the decision of Singapore's surrender was made on February 15, 1942. Today the bunker is an interesting museum.

Once a massive construction, today only the gate and the barracks (now housing the Dance Theatre) are what reminds of the old fort. The park also comprises a 19th century cemetery where people who made an important contribution to the history of Singapore are buried, for instance, the city's first architect who elaborated his own architectural style, George Coleman. The park also attracts visitors due to its amazing landscapes, unusual museums and exhibition halls, this is one of the centers of Singapore's cultural life. It hosts concerts, carnivals, theatrical performances, arts exhibitions and movie screenings, outdoor ballet productions, festivals, including world's biggest avant-garde music fest World of Music Arts and Dance. The park has its own viewing point that provides some spectacular views of the historic center of Singapore.

Address: River Valley Rd
How to reach: MRT Clarke Quay NE5, Dhoby Ghaut NS24, NE6, CC1
Coordinates: 1.29536, 103.84711