Singapore – City in a Garden
More than 50% of its area covered by greenery, the name “Garden City” didn’t satisfy Singapore’s high ambitions. The government plans to transform Singapore into a “City in a Garden”.
The Lion City, Singapore is a sovereign city-state in Southeast Asia, one of only three surviving city-states in the world. The other two are Monaco and the Vatican City. Second only to Monaco as the world’s most densely populated country.
Singapore’s iconic emblem is Merlion, a mythical creature with a lion’s head and a fish’s tail.
According to legend, Srivijayan prince Sang Nila Utama landed on the island and, saw a strange creature that he thought was a lion, and founded the new city he called Singapura, Sanskrit for Lion City, c. 1299. Though there have never been any lions anywhere near Singapore or elsewhere on Malaya in historical times.
Well-placed at the entrance to the Straits of Malacca, straddling the trade routes between China, India, Europe, and Australia. Stamford Raffles founded colonial Singapore in 1819 as a trading post of the East India Company.
In 1867, Singapore was formerly split off from British India and made into a directly ruled Crown Colony.
The island became independent on 9 August 1965, thus becoming the only country to gain independence against its own will in the history of the modern world.
It gained independence from the UK in 1963 by federating with other former British territories to form Malaysia, but was expelled two years later over ideological differences, becoming a sovereign nation in 1965.
The centre of the city — consisting roughly the Orchard Road shopping area, the Riverside, the Marina Bay area and the skyscraper-filled Shenton way financial district known as the CBD (Central Business District).
Riverside (Civic District) — Singapore‘s colonial core, with museums, statues and theatres, not to mention restaurants, bars and clubs.
Marina Bay — Dominated by the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort (hotel, casino, shopping mall, convention centre and museum) and the Marina Barrage.
The Gardens by the Bay situated next to Marina Bay Sands is a large public garden which house two huge cooled conservatories – the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest as well as a cluster of gigantic Super Trees.
The tropical garden with a UNESCO World Heritage Site tag is the 156-year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens, founded in 1859.
Chinatown — The area originally designated for Chinese settlement by Raffles, now a Chinese heritage area popular with tourists. Singapore‘s largest (arguably only) gay enclave is here too.
In Singapore’s circa-1820 Chinatown stands the red-and-gold Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, said to house one of Buddha’s teeth.