Singapore, the most popular tourist destination in Asia, exudes an enduring allure. Tourists come from all over the world to enjoy the city’s year-round warm weather and tropical scenery. Merlion Park, Singapore’s most famous tourist attraction, features the city’s famous lion head. The park’s primary feature is a beautifully crafted Merlion monument. Merlion Park is a well-known landmark in Singapore and a popular tourist destination close to the Central Business District (CBD). One of Singapore’s most well-known mascots and national symbols, the Merlion has the head of a lion but the body of a fish. The mythological Merlion, which has a fish body and a lion’s head, is Singapore’s national symbol and a popular tourist attraction.
When it comes to renderings of this iconic symbol, the Merlion Park monument near the Singapore River’s mouth is a standout.
Consider the significance of the Merlion and how it relates to our country’s history before you visit this stunning location.
Fishing Village, Lion City
The legend of the Merlion’s dual nature is more than skin (or stone) deep.
Symbolizing Singapore’s beginnings as a fishing community known as Temasek, the Merlion’s fish-like body is named from the Malay word for “lake,” tasek.
Singapura, the city’s original name, is represented by the statue’s head (lion city in Sanskrit). Sang Nila Utama, a Srivijayan prince from Palembang, is said to have come ashore in a storm.
Singapura got its name when the prince saw a weird animal near the Singapore River’s mouth and mistakenly thought it was a lion.
This statue has a fascinating backstory:
Merlion Park’s Merlion Statue is a reminder of the legend’s echoes today.
8.6 meters tall and 70 tonnes in weight, the Merlion statue spouts water from its mouth. It was created by local craftsman Lim Nang Seng to a design by Kwan Sai Kheong and unveiled on September 15th, 1972, by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew near the mouth of the Singapore River.
The statue was transferred to Merlion Park, which stands in front of the Fullerton Hotel and overlooks Marina Bay, after the building of the Esplanade Bridge in 1997.
Find more statues of Singapore’s national icon as you travel around the island. It has long served as an inspiration to tourists, poets, and even fellow Singaporeans.
Were You Aware?
Many local poets have written poems on the Merlion. Edwin Thumboo’s poem Ulysses beside the Merlion imagines Odysseus’s awe upon encountering the Merlion, the mythical Greek hero.