One Fullerton, Singapore 049213
Location: Marina Bay Waterfront
Merlion Park, home to the Merlion, one of the most iconic statues in Singapore, is a 2,500 metre square park on Marina Bay waterfront.The Merlion is 8.6 metres tall and weighs 70 tons and has sea water gushing out from its mouth. The Merlion attracts more than a million visitors annually.
The Merlion symbolizes Singapore’s transformation from it humble origins. The lion head was based on the legend of the discovery of Singapura by Prince Sang Nila Utama in 11th Century, ‘Singapura’ is translated into lion (singa) city (pura) in Sanskirt. The fish tail symbolizes the ancient city of Temasek and represents Singapore’s beginning as a fishing village.
The park was officially inaugurated on 15 September 1972 with an installation ceremony when the statue was unveiled by the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, then Prime Minister of Singapore. The original site of the park was smaller and located at the mouth of Singapore River, (today Fullerton Waterboat House & Singapore Biennale: The Merlion Hotel). The statue looks eastward, guided by geomancy, towards the open sea. Note : Since Marina Bay was built, it is no longer possible to see the open sea from Merlion Park.
The Merlion was designed in 1964, by Mr Fraser Brunner, a member of souvenir committee and curator of Van Kleef Aquarium. The Merlion was only an emblem for Singapore Tourism Promotion Board (STPB, now known as Singapore Tourism Board). The emblem was officially registered as a trademark on 20 July 1966, granting the board exclusive rights.
The statue was then built by late local craftsman, Mr Lim Nang Seng from November 1971 to August 1972, based on a blueprint conceptualized by artist Kwan Sai Kheong, then vice-chancellor of the University of Singapore. The bodies of the statues are made of cement fondue, the skin from porcelain plates and eyes from small red teacups.
The Merlion was eventually obstructed from Marina Bay Waterfront view after the Esplanade Bridge was built in 1997. In the 30th year of the Merlion a new pier was especially established for the park and the park and the statue were relocated 120 metres to the current site adjacent to One Fullerton Hotel in April 2002. Another ceremony, graced by then Senior Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, was held on 15 September 2002 to commemorate Merlion’s 30th birthday.
On 28 February 2009, the statue was struck by a lightning in the late afternoon and repairs were completed in March. The pump system has been replaced periodically due to corrosion from sea water. Externally, the statue has had cracks repaired and stains cleaned in 2006 and 2012 respectively.
The park consists primarily of a large statue, 8.6 metres tall (including 0.6 metre concrete beam), and a smaller statue, 2 metres tall and 3 tons. The smaller Merlion is commonly referred as “Merlion cub”. There is a bronze plaque with the inscription, "The Merlion has been erected as a symbol to welcome all visitors to Singapore".
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