It is known that many cities have their own unofficial, but rather poetic nicknames. For example, Chicago is the "City of the Winds", Paris is known as the "City of Lights", Rome went down in history as the "Eternal City", of course, the "Big Apple" is New York. And if all the stories of the emergence of these unofficial names of cities known throughout the world can be explained by historical, climatic or other facts, then the etymology of the production of a tiny Sigapur, "Lion City", is very entertaining and mysterious, since lions have never been found in Singapore! if you do not take into account those individuals that are today in the Singapore zoo, which certainly cannot claim to be the ancestors of popular zoomorphism.
However, one ancient Malay chronicle says that the Malay king Sri Tri Buane, who ruled these places in the 14th century, while visiting a small sandy island called Tumasik (or Temasek), nevertheless met here with an extraordinary and hitherto unseen beast that moved unprecedentedly fast, strong, larger than a goat, with a red body and a black head. Not a single person from the royal retinue knew this beast, and only one old adviser remembered that once upon a time he had heard of an animal whose description corresponded to what he had just seen, and his name was "lion." Strongly amazed, King Sri Tri Buana decided that an island capable of giving birth to such a beast was worth a city on it, "and immediately renamed Temasek Island into" Singapore ", which in Malay is" the city of lions "and founded here is a colony in which he ruled for 48 years until his death.
Another more ancient legend says that one of the Malay princes saw an extraordinary beast - a lion with a fish tail, which suddenly appeared out of the water. The prince was so surprised and discouraged that he decided to establish a settlement at this place.
The most interesting thing is that none of the legends has any scientific or historical confirmation. However, advertisers used this zoomorphism quite successfully and now the merlion is not only a part of the mysterious past, but also a symbol of the successful present and future of Singapore, which is developing by leaps and bounds.
In fact, the merlion or "heraldic sea lion" is a mythical animal representing a lion with a fish tail, which is found in artistic traditions of both Asian cultures (for example, on the walls of temples in Ajanta and Mathura in India) and in elements of Western heraldry (on the coat of arms of the English city of Yarmouth, the Philippine Manila and the East India Company).
Certainly today, Merlion or half-lion-half fish is a national symbol and a visiting card of modern Singapore. Souvenirs, postage stamps, logos, promotional items with merlion are extremely popular.
Today in Singapore you can meet 2 merlions, striking in their pampering and originality. The first is a sculpture of the Singapore Merlion, 8.6 meters high and weighing 70 tons, made of concrete on a steel frame, from the mouth of which a fountain erupts, erupting into the Singapore harbor - truly the most original landmark of Singapore. The second Merlion, 37 m high, is a tourist attraction known as the "Merlion Tower" on the Sentosa resort island. From the observation platforms of this tower, an extraordinary in its beauty panorama of the central part of Singapore - Sentosa, and the coastal islands opens up.