15 national monuments you might not know are national monuments

The historic sections of Changi Prison were gazetted as Singapore’s 72nd national monument last month, and that got us thinking: so there are actually 71 other national monuments? Sure, some are obvious—places of worship, colonial-era government buildings, grand old hotels —but they don’t add up to 71. To help these forgotten places see the light of day once more, we compiled this list.


1. Abdul Gafoor Mosque


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Completed in the 1920s, Abdul Gafoor Mosque on Dunlop Street is historically significant to Tamil and Baweanese Muslims.

2. Bowyer Block


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The last surviving building from the 1926 expansion of the Singapore General Hospital, Bowyer Block now serves as a medical museum.

3. Chinese High School Clock Tower Building


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An icon of Bukit Timah, the clock tower was used as a vantage point by Japanese troops during World War II.

4. Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary


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Built at the turn of the last century, this church was among the first in Singapore’s suburban areas, serving Hougang’s Teochew-speaking Catholics.

5. Esplanade Park Memorials


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It is home to the Tan Kim Seng Fountain, the Cenotaph and the Lim Bo Seng Memorial.

6. Former Admiralty House


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Located in Sembawang, the former residence of Singapore’s naval commanders now houses a private boarding school.

7. Former Command House


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A building with many identities, the Former Command House was the residence of the General Officer Commanding of Malaya, an internment camp during World War II and the residence of Singapore’s Speaker of Parliament post-independence. It’s now the home of UBS Business University.

8. Former House of Tan Yeok Nee


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The last of the Four Grand Mansions once owned by wealthy Teochew businessmen in the 19th century, it’s currently the home of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

9. Former Keng Teck Whay Building


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Built by Hokkien Peranakans before 1856, it’s now a Taoist temple dedicated to the Jade Emperor.

10. Former Nagore Dargah


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Once a shrine to a Sufi holy man venerated by the Chulia community, it now serves as Singapore’s Indian Muslim Heritage Centre.

11. Former Nanyang University Library and Administration Building, Memorial and Arch


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Built in the mid-1950s, the monuments are now part of the NTU campus.

12. Former Raffles College


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Commissioned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Raffles’ first landing in Singapore, it’s now known as NUS Bukit Timah Campus.

13. Former Singapore Conference Hall and Trade Union House


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Witness to many significant events in Singapore’s post-independence history, it’s currently the home of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra.

14. Maghain Aboth Synagogue


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The heart of what once was a Jewish neighborhood, it’s the oldest surviving synagogue in Southeast Asia.

15. Saint George’s Church


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Originally a garrison church, Saint George’s now serves Singapore’s Anglican community.