Dalhousie Obelisk at Empress Place is a famous architectural landmark in Singapore.
Blink, and you’ll probably miss the Dalhousie Obelisk, a tall needle-like monument at Empress Place, near the Asian Civilisation Museum.
It does have a somewhat interesting back story, however, as it was built to mark the second visit of Lord James Andrew, the Marquis of Dalhousie and Governor-General of India, in February 1850.
His visit was closely watched, as it anticipated a change in local administration and the slashing of expenditure.
Inspired by a “needle”
Designed by Government Surveyor John Turnbull Thomson, the Dalhousie Obelisk was built to remind merchants of the benefits of free trade.
Thought to be modelled after the famous Cleopatra’s Needle in London, the structure was completed by the end of 1850. See if you can spot the inscriptions in Jawi, Chinese, Tamil and English on each side.
Its four decorative pinnacle lamps make it a pretty spot for a quick selfie or photo opportunity in the historic Civic District.
Dalhousie obelisk was first moved in the late 1880s following land reclamation work for the expansion of the Padang and the construction of New Esplanade Road.
In 1891 it was shifted again to its present location near Victoria Theatre.