How many Merlions are there in Singapore

The Merlion

Singapore discovered the Merlion relatively late, but all the more powerful. The lion symbolizes the name of the settlement "Singa-Pore" (lion city), which has been in use since the 14th century, and the fish the original name of the native village Temasek (city by the sea).

The now familiar shape of the Singapore Merlion was designed in the early 1960s by Alec Fraser-Brunner, curator of the Van Kleef Aquarium, a visitor attraction in Fort Canning Park that was later replaced by Underwater World on Sentosa Island. The client was none other than the Singapore Tourism Office, which was looking for a new logo. To this day, the Merlion is a registered trademark of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and can only be used on souvenirs if approved. There are now a total of five officially recognized Merlions spread across Singapore.

The statue on the Singapore river

The original is the 8.60 meter high white Merlion, which was erected in 1972 at the mouth of the Singapore River. The inside of the statue is made of cement covered with white porcelain tiles and weighs 70 tons. For almost 25 years, the Merlion greeted from its position and became the official symbol of Singapore - until the completion of the extensive land reclamation project Marina Bay and Esplanade Drive, a multi-lane urban highway that crosses the estuary and made the Merlion virtually invisible.

The city leaders scratched their heads for a while, perplexed, and numerous new locations were considered before it was finally simply moved to the other side of Esplanade Drive. Because the 8.60 meter high statue did not fit under the bridge, it had to be hoisted over the bridge with cranes before it found its new home in “Merlion Park”, freshly cleaned. There it has now been placed in such a way that wonderful postcard pictures can be shot in front of the high-rise backdrop of the Financial District.

The other merlions

The original statue has got an offshoot at the same place, a two-meter-high "Merlion Cub", a Merlion baby that greets directly at the stairs to Merlion Park.

The 37-meter-high giant merlion on the island of Sentosa is also very well-known. Its open mouth does not spit water, but offers a viewing platform. Another platform is on the lion's head.

The three meter high Merlion, perched on the summit of the 105 meter high Mount Faber in Bukit Merah, is pretty to look at. The hill can be reached via the Sentosa cable car and offers a beautiful view of the city.

One last Merlion - also three meters high - stands in front of the official tourism office of the city of Singapore in the Tourism Court building on Grange Road.

The story of the Merlion

The Merlion is a mythological figure with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, which was known hundreds of years ago. So Merlions were among other things on Etruscan coins from the 5th century BC. depicted in the Mediterranean Sea and can be found on rock paintings in the caves of Ajanta near the Indian city of Aurangabad, which dates back to around 400 AD. to be dated. It was also known in Europe and can be found in the official coat of arms of the English port city of Portsmouth (together with a unicorn that has a fishtail instead of hind legs).

In the Philippines, too, the “sea lion” (not to be confused with the seal-like animals) plays an important role and appears not only in the national coat of arms, but also on the president's seal. In the former Spanish colony he symbolically represented the union of the Spanish kingdom (represented by the lion of Castile and Léon) and the colonies overseas (represented by the fish).