The Most Beautiful Churches in Singapore

An aerial view of the Romano-Byzantine-inspired Church of St Teresa, against the backdrop of contemporary Singapore
An aerial view of the Romano-Byzantine-inspired Church of St Teresa, against the backdrop of contemporary Singapore | © diyben / Shutterstock
Photo of Tarandip Kaur
31 March 2021

A lot of the churches in Singapore, erected during British rule, represent a vast number of denominations. Here’s our pick of the architecturally most impressive that are worth a visit when you’re in Southeast Asia.

St. Andrew's Cathedral

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St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore
St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore | © NavinTar / Shutterstock

Located in the central business district, this Anglican cathedral is a striking building, in part due to the space it commands, standing in beautiful solitude away from the maddening crowds of the city. This national monument, with gothic-revival influences, built in 1836 and revamped between 1856 and 1861, is fascinating to visit for its intricate finer details – including the arched entrance, and the stained-glass windows in the apse, which are dedicated to Sir Stamford Raffles.

St Joseph's Church

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Interior of St.Joseph's Church, Singapore
Interior of St.Joseph's Church, Singapore | © icosha / Shutterstock

Built by Portuguese missionaries and used mostly by Portuguese and Eurasian Catholics, this spectacular gothic-revival church proudly wears its Lusitanian influences on its sleeve. From its outdoor shrine to Our Lady of Fatima to the ceramic tilework called azulejos. The interior has a conspicuously sacred feel, with the imagery and statues of various saints occupying the stained-glass windows and niches across the hall.

Church of St Teresa

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An aerial view of the Romano-Byzantine-inspired Church of St Teresa, Singapore
An aerial view of the Romano-Byzantine-inspired Church of St Teresa, against the backdrop of contemporary Singapore | © diyben / Shutterstock

St Teresa’s is the only Roman Catholic church to pay tribute to the Romano-Byzantine artistic tradition with its architecture – particularly notable in its glorious dome and the intricate cupolas and arches on the façade. It was built for the Chinese Catholic population and was inspired by the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Montmartre, Paris. It is one of the more outstanding marvels of church architecture in Singapore.

Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Initially built for the Teochew-speaking Chinese community, the neo-gothic Church of the Nativity has a stunning narrow hall washed in white and is adorned with startlingly bright stained glass. The building is strikingly dominant, with a particularly tall steeple that even in modern, high-rise Singapore makes quite an impression.

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

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Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Singapore
Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Singapore | © EQRoy / Shutterstock

The oldest Roman Catholic church in Singapore – the chapel was built in 1832 – this is the seat of the Archbishop of Singapore. Built in a restrained Renaissance Revival style, it is particularly important for housing the relics of St Laurent-Marie-Joseph Imbert, a famous missionary in Asia. It has a vast entrance with minimalist interiors and exteriors replete with intricate details.

Church of St. Alphonsus

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One of the city’s more contemporary Roman Catholic churches, built in 1950 in a gothic style, and remarkable for its exuberant exterior with rounded edges and earthy colours, in contrast to a severe interior that bears all the hallmarks one would expect of a Gothic infrastructure, with striking tiles and stained windows.

Our Lady of Lourdes

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Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Singapore
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Singapore | © Luriya Chinwan / Shutterstock

As its name implies, this was built in tribute to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the French town of Lourdes, and was historically used by the Tamil Roman Catholics. It has an imposing presence due in large part to its neogothic architecture, with its sharp edges and lancet windows. It’s believed to be influenced by the church in its namesake town in France.

Church of the Sacred Heart

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Constructed in 1910, this Catholic church has one of the most unique colour designs you will find in Singapore. Its exteriors, especially the steeple, sport a very striking blue at its edges and, as you enter, you will be greeted by the same neon blue across the looming stained glass windows. This striking colour co-ordination graces the church with an exuberant atmosphere and further cements it as one of the more aesthetically unique sacred sites in Singapore.

The Armenian Church of St Gregory the Illuminator

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White Armenian Church of Saint Gregory, Singapore
White Armenian Church of Saint Gregory, Singapore | © Iryna Rasko / Shutterstock

Built in 1835 for members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, this rather miniscule edifice is striking for its rounded, stunningly painted interiors and the glorious statues in its memorial garden. You’ll find it in the city centre, and it is still used by the city’s remaining Coptic Orthodox community. Its inspiration comes in part from the Etchmiadzin Cathedral in Armenia as well as from the popular British neoclassical style.

Church of the Holy Family

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Prominent for its circular-shaped stained glass windows that greet visitors as they enter, the images depict various key events in the life of Jesus. This church is beautiful with tiny embellishments adding to its vibrant atmosphere. It also has a very different exterior, shaped in a classic Chinese architectural style, with waves on opposite ends of the roof.

These recommendations were updated on March 31, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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