Armenian Street, Singapore, Ararat Sarkissian, 2018, oil on canvas, 65 x 46 cm
In 1819 Singapore was established as a British trading post. Armenian merchants from around the region soon recognised the prospects of this port and established a small community, which has never exceeded 100 residents. Though small, the Armenian community has had a great impact on Singapore. In 1835 the community erected the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator; it is the oldest Christian church in Singapore and was designated as a national monument in 1973.
The world’s first cultivated orchid hybrid was bred by Ashkhen Hovakimian (Agnes Joaquim) in the 1880s and carries her name. In 1981 the VandaMiss Joachim Orchid was proclaimed as Singapore’s national flower.
Today, Singapore’s Raffles Hotel is a part of a large chain of Raffles international hotels. The hotel was opened in 1887 and was managed by Tigran Sarkies. The Sarkies brothers - Martin, Tigran, Aviet, and Arshak, originally from Isfahan in Persia, became the leading hotel owners in the East with properties in Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore.
The Straits Timesis currently the most widely-read newspaper in Singapore and one of the oldest English-language newspapers in the region. It was established in 1845 by Catchick Moses (Movsessian).
Armenians were significant landowners in Singapore and constructed many buildings in the city such as Stamford House which still stands. Singapore has an Armenian Street as well as three other streets named after Armenians: Galistan Avenue, Sarkies Road and St Martin’s Drive.