Illuminated skyline of Raffles Place at dusk from Padang.
Eye Ubiquitous / age fotostock
Singapore’s Padang playing field has remained undisturbed by major construction since it was zoned for public use in 1819, just after Stamford Raffles staked his claim on Singapore for the British Empire. It remains the country’s favorite civic venue for events such as the National Day Parade. The field, once located along Singapore’s coastline and now further inland due to land reclamation, is surrounded by the nation’s most important colonial-era buildings, most of which still stand. The neoclassical, colonnaded former City Hall (built in 1929), and its neighbor, the grand old Supreme Court edifice (from 1939), are still sitting pretty—both are now part of the National Gallery Singapore. The 1884-erected Singapore Cricket Club, with its red-tile roof and green shutters, anchors one end of the field; on the other side you can find the great white St. Andrew’s Cathedral, dating from 1861.