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Fort Canning Park

Fort Canning Park is an iconic hilltop landmark that has witnessed many of Singapore's historical milestones. Formerly referred to as Bukit Larangan, i.e. 'Forbidden Hill', the area was once home to several key personalities, such as the Malay kings in the 14th century and Sir Stamford Raffles (fig.) in the 1820s. Over the course of history, the hill received several name changes: it was renamed Government Hill in 1822, and Fort Canning Hill in the 1860s, when the construction of Fort Canning, a British fortification, was completed. Fort Canning was named after then Governor-General and later first Viceroy of India, Viscount Charles John Canning (1856-1862). It was built to protect Singapore from a sea attack, oversee the security of the town, and served as a place of refuge for Europeans in Singapore in the event of social disturbances, such as the Indian Mutiny in 1857. The fort had extensive defences, including a moat that ran around the thick fort walls, which were able to withstand artillery bombardment. In addition, the main fort housed amenities such as officersí quarters. The firing of a 68-pound carronade at 5am daily indicated the start of the day for those within a two-mile radius. Up until 1896, the cannons were also used to signal the outbreak of fire. Having served as the Headquarters of the Far East Command Centre and British Army Barracks, the fort itself was decommissioned in 1907 and by 1926, most of the fort was torn down. Nonetheless, it remained a significant historical site, briefly being the headquarters of British Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival during the Battle for Singapore and the decision to surrender Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942 was also made on the hill, in the Underground Far East Command Centre, commonly known as the Battle Box. Today, Fort Canning Park features nine different historical gardens, i.e. Raffles Garden,  Pancur Larangan, Artisanís Garden, Sang Nila Utama Garden, Jubilee Park, First Botanic Garden, Farquhar Garden, Spice Garden, and Armenian Street Park. A well-known venue for celebrations and parties, gatherings are a regular sight in the park's venue spaces. Some of the attractions in the park include a bas-relief wall with historical scenes and depictions of animals; the Raffles House; Maritime Corner with the Fort Canning Lighthouse; Bond Terrace with two 9-Pound Cannons; the Five Kings Walk and Keramat Sultan Iskandar Shah, i.e. the burial place of the last of the five Malayan kings of Singapore; Cemetery Wall; Singapore History Consultants, a military and historical museum inside a World War II bunker that served as the British underground command center; the Old Gunpowder Magazine, a building used to store explosive gunpowder in wooden barrels; a large evergreen tree known as Merbatu and with the botanical designation Maranthes corymbosa which is native to Singapore and that can grow to a height of 40 metres. WATCH VIDEO (1) and (2).