The Singapore River is steeped in history, evolving from a polluted waterway in the 1970s, to a cleaner and more iconic place for locals and tourists to hang out. Here are some facts about the 3.2-kilometre river that you may not be aware of.
Elgin Bridge was the first bridge to be constructed across the Singapore River. It was initially built with iron in 1862 to replace the older wooden Thomson’s Bridge. Subsequently, the bridge was replaced with concrete and opened in 1929. The bridge is lit up in rainbow colours at night, making it a beautiful place for photoshoots. During the iLight Festival in 2019, 90 years after its construction, Elgin Bridge turned into an art installation called Run Beyond, which featured LED figures in different running and leaping stages.
The Singapore River is home to bronze sculptures of a Kucinta cat watching over its two kittens at Cavenagh Bridge. Initially, there were supposed to be 15 statues dedicated to this Singaporean breed of cats, but they became vandalised, defaced and even stolen, leaving only these three remaining today. The feline was adopted as Singapore’s tourism mascot in 1991, amidst controversial claims that the breed was not natural. Eventually, the small cheetah-like Kucinta was recognised as its own established breed and remains one of the rarest cats in the world.
The Singapore River is home to a family of smooth-coated otters, which originally inhabited Marina Reservoir before another family of otters took over their territory. Now they live upstream of the river where there is ample food and space, as well as people to sneak up on.
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