Singapore's first colonial governor commissioned the Istana building which is in the neo-Palladian style and completed in 1869. The Istana is today the official residence of the President of Singapore. It is where the President receives and entertains state guests and where ceremonial presentations take place. In reality, no president has resided there since 1959. Our current president stays somewhere in the East.
Members of the public, including foreigners, may visit the Istana grounds on special occasions. The dates of the next Istana Open Houses are 2 August 2009 (in celebration of National Day), 21 September 2009 (in celebration of Hari Raya Puasa) and 18 October 2009 (in celebration of Deepavali). Expect to go through security checks at the entrance at Orchard Road.
The sprawling lawn of the Istana is akin to a public park with lily ponds and filled with interesting species of flora. The experience is somewhat like walking in the Singapore Botanical Gardens. A feeling of serenity and community with nature. There are some ancilliary buildings and a point of interest is the display of the Japanese Gun, presented to Lord Mountbatten after the Japanese surrender in 1945.
An artist drawing his impression of the Istana within its grounds.
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