The Merlion, a famous tourist icon of Singapore is a mythical creature with a head of a lion and body of a fish.
The lion head represents 'Singapura' meaning Singa- Lion and Pura- city. The name 'Lion City' was derived when Prince Sang Nila Utama landed on Tamasek, took a walk and spotted an animal with an orange body, black head and a white breast. It moved quickly and disappeared into the jungle. He asked his Chief Minister about the animal and was told that it was a Lion. He thought it was a good omen, he decided to rename the city- Singapura. However, studies shows that Lions do not live in Singapore, what Prince Sang Nila Utama saw was probably a Malayan Tiger.
The fish body of a Merlion represents 'Tamasek' (Javanese) or 'Sea Town' which was Singapore's old name. Singapore in the old times was a fishing village.
There are 5 Merlion statues that are recognized by Singapore Tourism Board, the most famous Merlion statue is found at The Merlion Park located at One Fullerton.