The story of Kampong Gelam – a cosmopolitan village named after the Gelam (Kayu putih or Melaleuca cajuputi) tree which once grew in abundance in the area – was birthed some two centuries ago. It began with the signing of a treaty between Sultan Hussein Mohamed Shah, Temenggong Abdul Rahman and Sir Stamford Raffles of the East India Company, whereby Sir Stamford Raffles was given permission to set up a trading post in Singapore.
Although the beginnings of Singapura could be traced to a much earlier time, the historic treaty was instrumental in propelling the Lion City into prominence in the Southeast Asian region, and later the world.
Once the centre of trade and commerce connecting Singapore to the rest of the Malay Archipelago, Kampong Gelam served as a religious, intellectual and social hub for the Malays in Singapore. It also functioned as a Pilgrim Hub for would-be pilgrims bound for Saudi Arabia. To embrace the authentic spirit of Kampong Gelam, you are invited to embark on a journey to Leluhur, returning to the land of our Ancestors.
In 1989, the Singapore government gazetted Kampong Gelam and accorded it the status of a conservation area. At the heart of it all, Kampong Gelam was home to modern Singapore’s pioneers, entrepreneurs, craftsmen and residents.