Kallang is perhaps known to many Singaporeans as the best place for sports and international concerts. It’s also a heavily developed industrial town, with various mixed-use developments intended for residential and commercial purposes.
The Singapore Sports Hub is one of the main attractions of the area, along with the Kallang Wave Mall, Goodman Arts Center, and Singapore Sports Museum, among many others. One can also easily find a Kallang hotel near the MRT station, creating convenience and comfort for every visitor.
However, did you know that Kallang also has quite a lot of historical sites? That’s right. Despite its modern facade, Kallang is quite a fascinating neighbourhood.
Here are a few of its popular landmarks that you may want to see for yourself.
1. Old Kallang Airport
Kallang Airport was built in the 1930s. It was Singapore’s first civil airport and opened the country to the rest of the world. It used to be one of the best airports of the British Empire during that period, and even Amelia Earhart called it “an aviation miracle.”
Kallang Airport closed in 1955 and was gazetted for conservation in 2008. The conserved areas include most of the airport, and extends even up to the gates.
2. Central Sikh Temple
The Central Sikh Temple is the first Sikh gurdwara or place of worship for Sikhs in Singapore. Also known as Wada Gurdwara, the temple was established in 1912 and had to be relocated multiple times until it was transferred to Kallang in 1986.
The building was constructed using polished Sardinian pink granite on the outside, and various kinds of marbles on the inside. The dome is 13 metres high and features white mosaic tiles on the outside, as well as white, grey, and gold mosaics on the inside.
The Central Sikh Temple has a capacity of 15,000 people, with the prayer hall located underneath the dome. Meanwhile, the tower houses a library and a museum featuring books and articles about Sikhism.
3. Farrer Park Field
Farrer Park Field is an important landmark for Singapore’s aviation, political, and sports histories. It was where many firsts happened, including the first ever aircraft landing in Singapore in 1919. The field also served as the Serangoon Road Race Course, the first in the country.
On the political end, the Farrer Park Field bore witness to numerous historic events, like the Farrer Park Address. This was in 1942, when British Indian Army soldiers were gathered and urged by the Japanese to switch allegiances. It was also where the People’s Action Party campaigned for self-governance in 1955.
Farrer Park Field was named after Roland John Farrer, the president of the former Singapore Municipal Commission. The field officially adopted this name in 1935.
4. Merdeka Bridge
The most iconic features of the Merdeka Bridge are the Merdeka Lions, two stone lion statues that stand guard on both ends of the bridge. They were made by Rudolfo Nolli, an Italian artist, in his studio in the Philippines, and they were then shipped to Singapore when the bridge was nearing its completion.
The bridge opened in 1956, and at the time served as the link between the city centre and Singapore’s east coast. “Merdeka” is the Malayan word for “independence,” for which the bridge stood as a symbol when Britain granted Singapore an internal self-government in 1955.
5. Kallang Riverside Park
Kallang Riverside Park is one of the most popular water sports venues in Singapore. In addition, the 7-hectare park also features picnic grounds along the beach, jogging and cycling tracks, as well as fitness equipment.
Historians argue that Stamford Raffles could have actually arrived on Singapore at a part of the Kallang Basin that is now Kallang Riverside Park, instead of on the Singapore River.
6. Jalan Besar Stadium
The Jalan Besar Stadium is considered as the birthplace of Singapore football and is the home ground of the Hougang United FC and the Young Lions. The stadium was opened in 1929 and was the site of many historic football games in Singapore.
Beyond sports, however, the Jalan Besar Stadium also had a role during the Japanese occupation. It was one of the Sook Ching mass screening sites and also became a language centre to teach Nihongo to the natives.
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