Singapore - Dream City
Modern Singapore got lucky with its name. Language learning enthusiasts call it "the Lion City", which is a literal translation from Malay language. Ancient legend says that in the 13th century a beast that has never been seen before, has appeared in these lands:
They saw a strange beast moving with great speed; it had an orange body, black head, and white neck. It looked stronger, faster, and bigger than a goat. Having noticed people, it dropped out of sight.
The beast had made such a strong impression on the prince that he decided to name the city after what he thought was a lion. Malay people had never seen a lion before, but they heard a lot of stories about it. So the prince was convinced that he saw a lion that day. Nowadays a lion image can be found almost everywhere. For example, you can see a dragon with a lion's mouth on the country's postage stamps.
Till 1960s Singapore was a poor country that had to import fresh water and mortar sand. Later on so called "economic boom" or "the 20th century phenomena" happened. Lee Kuan Yew, who was elected as a Prime Minister, decided to make Singapore a financial and trade center of Southeast Asia. He was able to accomplish the impossible: to eliminate crime completely, to defeat mafia groups, and to attract foreign investors. In just a couple of decades he turned Singapore into one of the most prosperous countries in the world.
Besides he managed to make things right for all layers of society from top to bottom. The laws are very strict with no exceptions. For example, it's absolutely forbidden to spit on the ground in Singapore. A fine for this violation amounts to 1500 SGD (1200 USD). You'll pay the same amount for smoking in public places, littering, unauthorized parking in the center of the city, etc. Problem with swarms of mosquitos, typical for Asian region, is handled by scheduling flower watering, while traffic jams and gas pollution are solved by mandatory car-pooling during rush hours (but one of the our Singaporeans visitors says that this law doesn't exist anymore).
These strict rules along with a country's grandeur are represented in the architecture of modern Singapore. Among most well known landmarks of the country there are three 200-meter tall towers in Marina Bay Sands. Being built in 2010, they feature a hotel, a casino, an exhibition center, an ice-skating rink, and much more. The design of the hotel was approved by feng shui masters, and the lead architect, according to his own words, was inspired by a deck of cards. A giant ship on top of the towers is magnificently illuminated at night.
Another skyscraper at Marina Center in Singapore is called Millenia Tower. Its square footprint rests on four illuminated cylinders, which in turn frame a striking glass pyramid. Among other Singapore landmarks is the highest Ferris wheel in the world — Singapore Flyer. It is 165 meters tall, which makes it the tallest of 2 other giants: Star of Nanchang in Nanchang (China) and London Eye in the capital of Great Britain.
We should also mention Supertree Grove (or Gardens of the Bay). It was built based on government's idea of turning Singaporeinto a "garden city". 170 companies from 24 countries of the world had launched a bid to create artificial gardens in Singapore. Several companies got this project and built a unique and futuristic architectural garden on 101 hectares of waterfront land.
Singapore consists of more than 60 islands, including the main island of the same name with all main Singapore landmarks. One of the bigger islands (and the one depicted on our panoramas ) is the Sentosa Island. It has Universal Studios Singapore, one of the biggest amusement parks in the world, the Aquarium, and the Singapore icon, which appears on every photo of Singapore — the Merlion statue (mer — marine, and lion-lion). The Lion symbolizes strength and courage, while its fish body refers to Singapore's connection with the sea. Merlion statue in Singapore is made of concrete. It is 6 meters tall, and weighs 70 tons. Like every other famous Singapore landmark, its nighttime illumination shows the statue from entirely new angle not seen in the daylight.
One of the ancient monuments of Sentosa Island is Fort Siloso, which served as a stronghold during World War 2 and protected country's western border. There is also Keppel Bay with its unique non-vertical skyscrapers designed by the man who also created the master plan for 9/11 World Trade Center Memorial and Museum.
Singapore is an eye-candy city-state. Being in the center (or, as it was in the ancient times, in the end) of Asia, this city has absorbed all the might and splendour of a modern western civilization and is happy to showcase it to the world — it's definitely worth it.
And now I give you Stas Sedov, who personally took part in this photo expedition.
I would like to tell you a very funny story that happened on the last day of our photo shoot, right when we were about to take pictures of Keppel Bay. We parked our car near skyscrapers and were about to explore the territory, when we came across a middle-aged man and his son. They got interested in our equipment and asked us what we were doing. We told them with honesty that we were looking for a site to shoot the nearest skyscraper. The man offered to use his own backyard, which was nearby, as a take off spot. It is hard to tell what surprised me the most: a one-storey building surrounded by trees and skyscrapers or its hospitable millionaire owner, who invited his new Russian friends without a second thought. The flight was short and easy. The backyard was a bit small because of the trees — we practically took off from his dining table on a porch. As the helicopter was gaining height, it got into a turbulence zone near skyscrapers — I've had better days for sure! My hands were shaking for a few minutes after everything was over. I hope our host will be pleased to see his tiled roof on one of our panoramas.
We invite you to enjoy Singapore landmarks on our panoramas.
Photography by Stanislav Sedov and Dmitry Moiseenko
7 March 2013