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In 1990, on the 25th anniversary of Singapore's independence, a time capsule was sealed and kept in a small modernistic pyramid along the Singapore River. Standing in stark contrast to the colonial architecture and the solemn memorials in the area, this 'pyramid power' time capsule contains a collection of momentous items that trace the years of the Republic's sovereignty. The capsule is scheduled to be opened in the year 2015.
Anderson Bridge is an elegant bridge spanning the mouth of the Singapore River displays an excellent combination of intricate plaster and metalwork unmatched by any other bridge locally. It comprises three steel arches with supporting steel ribs extending across them, two rusticated archways and a fluted pier at each end. Constructed between 1908-1910 to replace an older bridge, the Anderson Bridge was built with a good clearance to allow vessels to pass under at high tide. Named after Sir John Anderson (Governor of the Straits Settlements, 1904-1911) it was constructed because the Cavenagh Bridge was unable to cope with increasing traffic.
The Esplanade Park, also known as Queen Elizabeth Walk, is home to three of Singapore's monuments, the Cenotaph (a World War I memorial), and two others built in honor of a philanthropist, Tan Kim Seng, and a war martyr, Lim Bo Seng. Created from a series of reclamation projects, the small park is a pleasant venue for a leisurely stroll, commanding an excellent view of the colonial district. At the southwestern end of the park, the city's tourism icon, the Merlion, can be seen guarding the mouth of the Singapore River.
This 1910 building evokes the serenity of its era in its arched verandas, balanced symmetry, and dignified proportions fashionable in the 19th century England. A Sri Lankan figurine of Buddha, Islamic art and calligraphy, South-east Asian tribal wood carvings and other ethnographic collections trace Singapore's diverse cultural and religious origins to all over Asia. The Asian Civilisations Museum, however, leans heavily towards Chinese cultural heritage, with two-thirds of the galleries focusing on artifacts from China, with jade, ceramics, bronzes, and folk art, dating from the Neolithic Age to the 20th century.
Near Cavenagh Bridge stands a prominent white obelisk resembling the Cleopatra Needle on London's Thames embankment. Designed by John Turnbull Thomson, it was built to commemorate the visit of the British Governor-General of India, Marquis Dalhousie, in 1850. A strong advocate of free trade, Dalhousie was warmly received by the local leaders, traders and residents. His visit was considered significant, symbolizing that Singapore was finally gaining recognition from the higher authorities. After he left, funds were raised and the memorial built. Even today, the Dalhousie Obelisk stands as a symbol of free trade.
At the northern bank of the Singapore River near Cavenagh Bridge stands this robust neoclassical structure named in honor of Queen Victoria. Designed by chief engineer Major McNair, the Empress Place Building was built in 1865 with a beautiful facade adorned with Doric columns and rustic French windows topped by ornate fanlights. Initially a courthouse, it had become the headquarters for some government offices by the 1960s. After a profound refurbishment, it was introduced to the public in 1989, its premises taken over by an art gallery, souvenir shops and eateries. You ought to visit the place when you come to Singapore.
This bridge with its elegant suspension struts is the third to be built and is the only suspension bridge in Singapore. Named after Major General Orfeur Cavenagh (Governor of the Straits Settlement, 1859-1867), it was constructed in 1869 to allay the inconvenience of crossing the Singapore River by boat. On the side of the bridge near The Fullerton Singapore (previously Fullerton Building), you'll spot a family of Singapura Cats (kucinta or drain cats), recognized as one of the smallest breeds of cats in the world.
This memorial near the mouth of the Singapore River may be small and inconspicuous, but the martyr for whom it was built was in no way insignificant. Born in China, Major General Lim Bo Seng was a great war hero. He organized a massive anti-Japanese resistance force prior to the Japanese occupation. Fleeing to China before the invasion, he returned to the region for a counter-attack with the British Army. His unfortunate arrest by Japanese forces led to his imprisonment and eventual death after three months of torture. A true patriot, he died without revealing the names of his comrades.