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A peek inside the Istana

The Istana's main building, similar to many 18th-century neo-Palladian-style buildings designed by the British, sits atop a hill around 40m high. The Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Istana's main building, where formal ceremonies are held to welcome
The Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Istana's main building, where formal ceremonies are held to welcome visiting dignitaries and where they inspect the guard of honour. ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR
Edinburgh Road (top) leads from the Istana's entrance in Orchard Road to the main building. In the front lawn is a marble fountain (above) that is sometimes lit up for state and public functions. Near Swan Pond, visitors can rest on a bench (below) m
The Istana's main building, similar to many 18th-century neo-Palladian-style buildings designed by the British, sits atop a hill around 40m high. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The Istana's main building, similar to many 18th-century neo-Palladian-style buildings designed by the British, sits atop a hill around 40m high. The Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Istana's main building, where formal ceremonies are held to welcome
Edinburgh Road (above) leads from the Istana's entrance in Orchard Road to the main building. ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR
The Istana's main building, similar to many 18th-century neo-Palladian-style buildings designed by the British, sits atop a hill around 40m high. The Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Istana's main building, where formal ceremonies are held to welcome
In the front lawn is a marble fountain (above) that is sometimes lit up for state and public functions. ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR
The Istana's main building, similar to many 18th-century neo-Palladian-style buildings designed by the British, sits atop a hill around 40m high. The Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Istana's main building, where formal ceremonies are held to welcome
Near Swan Pond, visitors can rest on a bench (above) made from wooden planks from the old National Stadium. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The Istana's main building, similar to many 18th-century neo-Palladian-style buildings designed by the British, sits atop a hill around 40m high. The Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Istana's main building, where formal ceremonies are held to welcome
Completed in 1967, the Istana's Japanese Garden (above), with its modest character, differs from other tree-filled areas in the compound and is reminiscent of painterly landscapes. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The Istana's main building, similar to many 18th-century neo-Palladian-style buildings designed by the British, sits atop a hill around 40m high. The Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Istana's main building, where formal ceremonies are held to welcome
A pair of mute swans (above) from the Netherlands at Swan Pond. Besides these large birds, other birds as well as fish and insects can be found in the area. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The Istana's main building, similar to many 18th-century neo-Palladian-style buildings designed by the British, sits atop a hill around 40m high. The Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Istana's main building, where formal ceremonies are held to welcome
An oriental pied hornbill on the grounds of the Istana, near the main building. Many other bird types have also been sighted in the compound.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The Istana's main building, similar to many 18th-century neo-Palladian-style buildings designed by the British, sits atop a hill around 40m high. The Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Istana's main building, where formal ceremonies are held to welcome
At the Gun Terrace sits a 105mm Japanese cannon (above), presented to the people of Singapore in 1945 by Supreme Allied Commander in South-east Asia Louis Mountbatten. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The Istana's main building, similar to many 18th-century neo-Palladian-style buildings designed by the British, sits atop a hill around 40m high. The Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Istana's main building, where formal ceremonies are held to welcome
The reception hall (above) is where an exquisite blue and beige Persian carpet is rolled out for dignitaries, while The Villa built in 1908 and which served purposes including as the official lodgings of the governor's aide-de-camp, stands out with its high concrete arches. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The Istana's main building, similar to many 18th-century neo-Palladian-style buildings designed by the British, sits atop a hill around 40m high. The Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Istana's main building, where formal ceremonies are held to welcome
The reception hall is where an exquisite blue and beige Persian carpet is rolled out for dignitaries, while The Villa (above), built in 1908 and which served purposes including as the official lodgings of the governor's aide-de-camp.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
This little garden, completed in 1967, may make you think of painterly landscapes. Its quiet and modest character makes it somewhat different from other tree-filled areas in the Istana. The garden is bordered by casuarina and pine trees. These tall t
This little garden, completed in 1967, may make you think of painterly landscapes. Its quiet and modest character makes it somewhat different from other tree-filled areas in the Istana. The garden is bordered by casuarina and pine trees. These tall trees provide shade for some smaller plants.ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR
Banquet Hall, where warm ties are made over meals and conversations.
Banquet Hall, where warm ties are made over meals and conversations.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
State Room where the stage is set for official presentations.
State Room where the stage is set for official presentations.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Sri Temasek. The 1869 building features a symmetrical layout that is typical of colonial design. Meanwhile, its roof evokes the look of traditional Malay houses. The building was constructed by colonial engineer John McNair, who also designed and bui
Sri Temasek. The 1869 building features a symmetrical layout that is typical of colonial design. Meanwhile, its roof evokes the look of traditional Malay houses. The building was constructed by colonial engineer John McNair, who also designed and built the Government House.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Flag on top of the Istana main building.
Flag on top of the Istana main building.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Lesser Whistling Ducks at Swan Pond. They are seen at the Swan Pond since 2007 and up to 50 individuals can be found flying around the waters of the pond or resting in the Istana grounds.
Lesser Whistling Ducks at Swan Pond. They are seen at the Swan Pond since 2007 and up to 50 individuals can be found flying around the waters of the pond or resting in the Istana grounds.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Lined with rain trees, Edinburgh Road will take you from the Istana's entrance along Orchard Road all the way to the main building.
Lined with rain trees, Edinburgh Road will take you from the Istana's entrance along Orchard Road all the way to the main building.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
A sand bunker near The Villa at Istana on May 06, 2019.
A sand bunker near The Villa at Istana on May 06, 2019.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The Istana, the official residence of the president of Singapore, was once the official residence of colonial-era governors.

Located in the heart of the Orchard Road shopping district, it is where Singapore's leaders receive foreign dignitaries and hold meetings with them.

It is also a place where Singaporeans - from nurses to athletes - are honoured at state ceremonies.

During its open houses, visitors from all walks of life get to admire its beauty.

To mark the Istana's 150th anniversary, The Straits Times captures some uncommon views of the iconic Singapore landmark.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2019, with the headline 'A peek inside the Istana'. Print Edition | Subscribe