Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 02/10/2013 03:47 | By Channel NewsAsia

Guided tours on Istana Open House days

Guided tours on Istana Open House days

Guided tours on Istana Open House days

SINGAPORE: For the first time, a guided tour will be held at the Istana to promote a deeper understanding of the national monument — a collaboration between the Preservation of Monuments Board and the Istana of Singapore.

The first tour will be offered on Monday at the Istana’s Lunar New Year Open House.

Whether it’s a painting inspired by a tropical plantation or a decorated ceiling, there’s a human interest story behind each art piece.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam said: "People come here but they don’t really understand the significance of the building and some of the artefacts and paintings until somebody explains it to you. Just like myself, I come here everyday and I pass all these things and it doesn’t register until you know what are the details."

But now you can get the chance to hear the stories behind the 144—year—old national monument through a guided tour.

The 45—minute tour, led by a team of volunteers, will take visitors through Singapore during the colonial days to the tumultuous years towards independence.

One of the art pieces that stood out for President Tony Tan was a Balinese painting which has multiple stories playing out simultaneously within the picture.

So one can expect to see iconic structures and buildings of Singapore’s landscape which include the Merlion, Changi Airport and the Singapore River.

Visitors can also expect to hear stories of individuals involved in the daily management in each of the three stately rooms.

A banquet hall that used to be the kitchen underwent renovation to now host State banquets held in honour of visiting heads of states and governments. The centrepiece of the room is a chandelier weighing 220 kilogrammes.

The tour will be offered on all Istana Open House days from 9:30am to 4:30pm.

Ticket fees for the guided tour are at S$2 for children between the ages of 4 and 12, S$4 for Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents, and S$10 for foreigners.

All proceeds collected from the tours will be donated to the Community Chest.

Tickets can be bought at the site itself.

— CNA/ck

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