Book series on 'best kept secrets' of the Istana to launch at National Day open house

The series of three books, titled 150 Best Kept Secrets Of The Istana, will also introduce readers to some of the inner workings behind state events in the presidential estate. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A new series of books that unveil little-known facts of the Istana will be launched on Sunday (July 28).

To be launched by President Halimah Yacob during a National Day open house at the Istana, the series of three books is titled 150 Best Kept Secrets Of The Istana.

The books will also introduce readers to some of the inner workings behind state events in the presidential estate, and were launched to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Istana.

More details on the book, such as its availability, will be revealed on Sunday.

The Istana, completed in 1869, was built by the British colonial government to house its governors and was known as the Government House.

When Singapore attained self-government in 1959, it was handed over to the Singapore Government and renamed Istana.

Other mementos launched in the past few months to mark the 150th anniversary of the Istana include a series of souvenir medallions and Istana Cookies.

During the National Day open house on Sunday, President Halimah will also launch the second issue of the Istana Souvenir Series, which will feature four unique medallions showcasing the rich flora and fauna diversity within the Istana.

The public can also get their hands on the Istana Cookies which were launched on July 5.

Visitors can receive the the Istana Cookies, which are made available at Istana open houses, when they make a donation to the President's Challenge.

The Istana Cookies come in five flavours, based on ingredients derived from spices and fruits found in the Istana grounds.

The Istana National Day open house will also feature programmes including a PAssionArts Festival Village where visitors can try out various art activities, ranging from canvas painting to marble art.

Visitors can also catch a variety of performances throughout the day at the open house.

There will also be a guided nature walk as well as a guided tour of the Istana main building where visitors can visit selected function rooms and view collections of State Gifts presented to Singapore's presidents and prime ministers.

Visitors will have to pay to go on these guided tours.

The President's Office is also working with the National Heritage Board and the Museum Roundtable to showcase features from some of the local museums at the open house, including activities such as making paper using spices, and learning more about the heritage of wayang kulit.

As part of the celebrations for National Day, visitors are encouraged to dress in red and white.

Entry to the Istana grounds is free for Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents.

All others visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of $2 per person.

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