It’s the icon that’s very representative of Singapore: the Merlion. You have probably seen it in real life, in key chains, or on TV (recently, it made a cameo appearance at Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears). It’s a symbol you very well know for sure but have you wondered about what it represents and how it came to be?
The story behind the Symbol
There are many theories as to how the Merlion came about. But one of the most popular ones is about a Malay prince who saw a half-lion, half-fish creature when he first entered a fishing island called “Temasek”. When he saw the glorious sea monster, he decided to name the island ‘Singapura’, a Sanskrit phrase which means lion (Singa) and city (Pura). This explains why Singapore is also called the Lion City today.
According to historians, the head and the face in the icon represents the lion the prince saw, while the tail symbolises the small beginnings of the fishing village Singapore once was. This mythical icon carries so much history of this city-state-country.
A Majestic Statue
For a lot of tourists, a trip to Singapore is never complete when you’re not able to snap a picture with the majestic statue of the Merlion. But if you’re looking for a more meaningful tourist experience, don’t just take a selfie with the Merlion — go inside the statue and immerse yourself in a fun trip down history lane.
Buy your Sentosa Merlion ticket and explore the gallery inside. You’re in for a 3D visual treat as you see an animated show about how Singapura was discovered. You’ll also learn how Merlion came to be an iconic symbol through the years. If you have kids with you, this is a perfect opportunity for them to be familiar with a significant piece of Singapore’s rich history and introduce to them the wonders of arts and design.
Merlion is a symbol that reflects the humble beginnings of Singapore. Visit the iconic statue to get the chance to re-live a history of the Lion City.