The Lion-Fish By The River

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The Lion-Fish By The River

March 20, 2017

One of Singapore’s most famous – and most photographed – icons is the half-lion, half-fish Merlion. A majestic statue of the mythical creature spouting water stands at the mouth of the Singapore River next to One Fullerton on the 2,500-square-metre Merlion Park.

The Merlion Park has a promontory with terraced seating and a viewing deck which can hold up to 300 people as well as a boat landing point where visitors can disembark from river taxis. 

During the day, those taking pictures of the Merlion from the viewing deck can get scenic backdrops of the city skyline as well as Marina Bay. At dusk, the beautifully-lit Merlion glows from the white light projected onto it. The well-lit water feature beneath the Merlion gives the illusion that it is “floating” on the water. 

First designed as an emblem for the Singapore Tourism Board in 1964, the Merlion weighs 70 tonnes and stands at 8.6 metres high. The Merlion body was built from cement fondue, its skin from porcelain plates and its eyes from small red teacups. 

The Merlion represents Singapore’s past and present. The fish-like tail symbolises Singapore’s past as the ancient city of Temasek (“sea” in Javanese), while the lion head represents the name of Singapore given by the Sri Vijaya Prince Nila Utama, who saw a mysterious creature when he landed on this island. He named it Singapura, which meant Lion City in Sanskrit after he found out that the creature was a lion.


*   In the French language, Merlion means “falcon”.
*   There are five official Merlion statues in Singapore. Besides the Merlion and the Cub at the Merlion Park, the third Merlion is located on Sentosa Island; the fourth on Mount Faber and the fifth at Tourism Court, the headquarters of the Singapore Tourism Board.
*   The Merlion was struck by lightning in February 2009 leaving pieces of its head on the floor!

Photos courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board


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