One of the aspects we like about Singapore is how easily integrated its multi-cultural communities are with each other; such as Buddhist Temple within the heart of Chinatown, or Chinese Clan Associations smack dab in the middle of "Little India." All of these ethnic groups brought their various religions to Singapore. In the past, we've mentioned being advised to stop in at any house of worship, no matter what the denomination, which we found open, in order to marvel at the beauty , and the history each had to offer. That certainly has proven true up to this point. So it was an easy decision for us to go in search of the churches, mosques, and temples of Singapore. Presented here are the highlights of those visits;
"MASJID SULTAN MOSQUE" -built by Sultan Hussain Shah of Jahore between 1824 and 1826, this is the oldest, and one of the most important mosques in Singapore. After bringing his family here, he built a palace for them in which to live. He then went on to build the mosque next to his palace. Situated in the Arab Street neighborhood of Singapore, it is the top attraction here.
"SRI THENDAYUTHAPANI TEMPLE" - better known as the "Chettier's Temple" after the mercantile caste of south India that funded its construction in 1859 , this Hindu temple is dedicated to the six-faced Lord Subramanion. During the Thaipusam festival, pilgrims, after 40 days of fasting, walk to this temple, through the streets of Singapore, with their bodies pierced by hooks, spears and spiked steel structures as a sign of devotion.
"BUDDHA TOOTH RELIC TEMPLE" - located in the heart of Chinatown, this is one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in Singapore. Architecturally, the temple is based on the Chinese Tang Dynasty style. In addition to the temple proper, this building also houses a museum and a roof garden.
"ST. ANDREW'S CATHEDRAL" - located near city hall, this country's largest cathedral is the mother church of the Anglican diocese of Singapore. Sir Stamford Raffles had allocated land for the cathedral in 1822 but construction did not begin until 1834 because of the need to raise funds. Due to complaints that the building looked like a college or town hall, a spire was added in 1842. However, no lightning protection was included, so when the spire was struck in 1845 and 1849, the building became unsafe and was eventually demolished in 1855. A new cathedral was constructed between 1856 and 1861.
"CHURCH OF ST. GREGORY THE ILLUMINATOR" - commissioned in 1835 by the first twelve Armenian families that immigrated to Singapore, this is the oldest Christian church in Singapore. Located at the foot of Fort Canning, it is just a short distance from the National Museum of Singapore. It became the first building in Singapore to have electricity in 1909. By 1973, the church was designated a national monument.
" HONG SAN SEE TEMPLE" - dedicated to Guang Ze Zun Wang, the God of Fortune, this Chinese temple was originally built in 1836 by migrants from China. In the early 1900's, when the government took the temple's land for urban redevelopment. With the compensation received for the takeover, the temple was relocated to its present location on Mohamed Sultan Road and rebuilt using materials imported from China. It was designated a national monument and a UNESCO World heritage site in 1978.