Amidst the skyscrapers and shiny malls of Singapore’s Central district sits the historic landmark of Fort Canning Hill…
A place where royalty once ruled during medieval times that later became the location where the British surrendered to the invading Japanese forces during the Second World War, Fort Canning Hill is home to a collection of historical sites (some authentic and some recreated) that depict the story of Singapura.
Built in around 1936, this underground bunker on For Canning Hill was where the decision was made to surrender to the Japanese Army. Go nine metres underground to explore the refurbished historical attraction. Entrance to the Battlebox is by guided tour only tickets are priced at $20 for adults and $10 for children aged 7 to 12.
Address: 2 Cox Terrace., 179622
Tel: 6338 6133
Opening hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Fri. to Sun.)
2. Fort Canning Green
A popular place for concerts and events, this expansive lawn on Fort Canning Hill used to be a graveyard and you can still see some tombstones built into the walls that bound the area, along with the prominent white gothic gates.
It is uncertain who is buried in this ancient shrine on Fort Canning Hill but it is widely believed to be the tomb of Sri Sultan Iskandar Shah, the fifth and last ruler of pre-colonial Singapore. The architecture of the Keramat features a motif of a fighting cock (originating from Java, Indonesia) carved onto the wooden pillars.
4. Spice Garden
Started in 1882 by Sir Stamford Raffles, the Spice Garden on Fort Canning hill was once the site of Singapore’s first Botanical and Experimental Garden. It is now a replica of that and is home to over a hundred species of spices. There is a Spice Garden Trail that you can follow as well to learn more.
5. Artisan’s Garden
Located behind the Registry of Marriage’s, the Artisan’s Garden was once the site of craftsmen’s workshops and their living quarters in the 14th century where they made fine goods for the royals who resided on this hill. This space is one of the last archaeological dig sites that has been retained in Singapore and it has been made into an interpretive space for visitors to understand what the site used to be while learning about the archaeological excavations and findings on Fort Canning Hill.
6. ASEAN Sculpture Garden
In conjunction with the ASEAN Sculptures Symposium held in Singapore in 1981, the five ASEAN countries at that time contributed a sculpture in this garden. There are also many other interesting newer sculptures on Fort Canning Hill for you to explore along the sculpture trail.
7. Mural Wall
Near the entrance to the park from Hill Street, you will find an artistic representation of events in 14th-century Singapore. A descriptive information board nearby tells you the interesting highlights from pre-colonial Singapore.
8. Raffles Garden
Named after the founder of modern Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, this garden was inspired by his love for plants and showcases the diverse plant species that he came across while in Southeast Asia including species collected, studied and planted by Raffles and his fellow naturalists.
9. Pancur Larangan (or the Forbidden Spring)
Recreated in the 14th-century Javanese style, a freshwater spring used to flow from the face of Fort Canning Hill at this location. In ancient times it was known as the “Forbidden Spring” as it was used by the noble ladies of the royal court of Singapura as a bathing place making it an important part of the palace.
By Muneerah Bee / Last updated + additional reporting by K Praveena