We are just a week before Easter and a few hours before the first full spring`s moon night.
The weather in our region of the world is stable, 30 degrees Celsius and so far it is still dry. In about six weeks it will start raining every day.
Today, March 27th, at 20:30 local time in every corner of the world, we have "Earth Hour", when we turn off the light for 1 hour. During this time, of course, you can light candles, take a break from the rush of everyday life and drink wine. There are many ways to spend this hour pleasantly and at the same time support efforts to stop global warming.
In one of the autumn`s article on my blog, we visited Singapore during the Harvest Festival, which is the popular “Mid Autumn Festival” in Asia. I promised then that we would return to Singapore to learn a bit about its history.
At the same time, on the occasion of the "Earth Hour", I would like to offer you a walk between the "supertrees" and share a few interesting facts related to "Gardens by the Bay", which are one of the greatest tourist attractions in Singapore.
Today, before we go for a walk, I would like to tell you a short history about the Singapore.
So let's start with a few facts. Singapore, and in fact the Republic of Singapore, is an independent country at the end of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia.
This city-state lies approximately 140 km north of the equator and at the same time lies at the entrance to the Strait of Malacca, which I have already mentioned in this article. Why is it so important? Well, this strait plays one of the most important roles in water transport in this region of the world. 80% of the cargo flows through this strait to Europe.
An interesting fact is that Singapore's economic power is, firstly, related to the flow of goods through the Strait of Malaka, and secondly, the fact that it is the center of settlements and servicing of the banking system in Asia and rest of the world. By the way, it is the most important country building the structure of the Union of Southeast Asian Countries, i.e. ASEAN.
This city-state is not very big by Asian standards. Suffice it to say that it consists of 63 islands and islets satellite to the Main Island Pulau Ujong, whose name from Malay translates to "island at the end". Almost 6 million people live in this area, of which 3.5 million are native Singaporeans.
The area of this city has increased by 25% in the last dozen or so years due to the construction of artificial land area. This is a method that Malaysia practices in parallel, expanding its territory, adding gravel and boulders deep into the sea. Thanks to this, they gain more hectares needed for residential and industrial development.
Singapore is a multinational and multicultural city. It is inhabited by Malaysians, Chinese and Tamils. By the way, it should be said that officially four languages are used. Bahasa, Chinese, and Tamil are the languages of the ethnic groups. On the other hand, English is the language that enables all nations to communicate freely. Such a language, which is a platform for communication between the inhabitants of a country that does not have its own common language, is called "lingua franca".
Multiculturalism is enshrined in the Singapore constitution and strongly shapes the country's social policy, education and development.
Multiculturalism is also reflected in the percentage of the population living in Singapore.
The dominant ethnic group is the Chinese - 76% of the population, 15% are Malays and 8% Tamils. When it comes to religion, 33% of the society professes Buddhism, less than 20% are Christians and another 20% declare that they are non-believers. Interestingly, in Singapore the followers of Islam constitute only 14% and Hindu 5%.
The small area of the city-state and the large size of the population living there makes Singapore the second country in terms of population density in the world. Imagine 7,800 people per square kilometer. Quite crowded, but walking around Singapore does not feel that it is such a densely populated part of the world.
The history of Singapore, like most Southeast Asian countries, is closely related to British colonialism. I'll come back to that in a moment.
First, a few key dates.
Singapore regained self-determination in June 1959. Then, after much deliberation, it seceded from Malaysia in September 1963 to declare independence in August 1965 under the name of Singapore. Two years later, it joins ASEAN with the rest of the region's countries.
However, before all this had the right to take place, it should be noted from a chronicler's duty the fact that the kingdom of Singapore was founded in 1299 and the history of this place dates back to that time.
Later, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Singapore was also very closely associated with the Sultanate of Malaki, a part of which it remained until 1613, when the Portuguese plundered everything so successfully that for over two centuries, the island that housed the trading office of the colonial companies was it ceased to matter.
After that time, Singapore was nominally part of the Johor Sultanate, one of the richest in Malaysia. Rich enough that he is the only one in Malaysia with his own army. Well, if you have oil deposits, you have money.
And so we reached 1819, when Sir Ford Raffles opened a British Colony's trading office in Singapore. This is the beginning of the history of the development of modern Singapore.
But, let's not forget the gardens.
"Gardens by the Bay", where you can and even have to take a walk between the trees, is a work of ecological art. Real futuristic gardens.
The whole is spread over 101 hectares. It is in these gardens that we will meet the incredible trees of the future.
25 to 50 m high, made of concrete and metal. One tree weighs several hundred tons and thousands of metal rods create artificial branches and shoots.
Among these artificial trees, which are called "super trees", grow smaller, naturally planted trees and shrubs.
Each tree has a concrete "trunk" and carries a metal structure weighing between 20 and 85 tons.
The "super trees" are actually a great ecological structure, acting as a kind of environmental "engine" that drives the vegetation of gardens.
This is the pinnacle of bio-technological engineering.
Structures 50 meters high, covered with climbing vegetation, looking like trees, are not only decoration. These are real biological stations. Their construction produces electricity, cleans the air and produces hectoliters of water per month.
Photovoltaic panels were used to produce electricity to illuminate the trees, which take on a fairy-tale look at night, and to illuminate the surrounding gardens.
Each tree is also a great reservoir for rainwater. The rainwater collected in this way is transported to the central water supply system surrounding the entire parking lot and which is also a reservoir of water used in irrigation systems.
The trees are connected by a beautiful smooth, hanging at a height of 22 m, which you can walk and admire the gardens from above.
There are eighteen trees of this type in the entire park. The highest one corresponds to a sixteen-story building, more or less.
Trees are built to mimic nature. The trunk and branches host thousands of different vines, herbaceous plants and flowering orchids. Each of these trees is loaded with technology that reflects the ecological functions of a real tree.
We have photovoltaic panels here that collect solar energy used later to illuminate the park. It is a reflection of photosynthesis.
The rainwater collection system and the use of irrigation systems reflect the way tropical trees absorb water to grow. At the same time, it provides water to all fountains and water reservoirs in the park.
"Super trees" also provide a cooling and cleaning system for the air used by greenhouse air conditioning systems.
You admit that this is a futuristic ecosystem of the twenty-first century.
During the day, these trees provide shade for walkers in the park. At night, they are illuminated by thousands of lamps that are used to show "light and sound" ..
The "Garden Rhapsody" show lasts 30 minutes and takes place daily at 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm.
If I can advise you, it is worth taking a seat on a nearby meadow, a bit away from the trees, only then you can see the beauty of the whole composition during the show.
Every year, the show is canceled during "Earth Hour". It was no different yesterday. The 8:45 pm show just didn't take place.
When it comes to prices, the entrance to the footbridge connecting super trees costs 8 $ Singapore. Of course, the entrance to the park is free.
If you want to see a fantastic panorama of the city and the bay, for $ 10 Singapore you can go to the top of the 50-meter “super tree”. This is the highest of 18.
Walking through the park, you will encounter huge greenhouses with fantastic collections of plants, imitations of 30-meter waterfalls, etc. Entry to two of these greenhouses costs $ 20 Singapore in the package. All adult prices. Children and seniors have discounts. I recommend highly to visit all.
It is a fantastic adventure. A walk inside these greenhouses is an opportunity to see unusual plants that would be difficult to find in nature without visiting a dozen islands in the Indochina Archipelago. Here you have everything at your fingertips. I will devote a separate article to these greenhouses because it is worth checking what their interiors hide. Anyway, one of these greenhouses, "Flower Dom", is the largest greenhouse ever built in the world.
The numbers are the proof of the park's popularity. In 2014, about 6 million people visited the park. In 2015, already 20 million. A year ago, over 50 million people. It makes an impression.
Imagine a full moon shining overhead. Clear sky. Hundreds of people walking between 50 meters high, futuristic trees.
Laughing, joyful crowd, adults and children, tropical vegetation.
Music resounds in the background and… the “sound and light” performance begins...
These futuristic trees illuminate with beautiful colors and, to the beat of the music, give the audience an unforgettable spectacle. It takes more than 30 minutes and stays in your memory for a long time.
The mood of joy and mystery is shared by everyone present in this place.
Evening walks around Singapore are a time full of excitement. Entire gardens are decorated with outdoor artistic installations. A combination of art and culture.
Beautiful illuminations, cleanliness and natural greenery. This city is a bit like a fairy tale.
Fairy tale of the 21st century.
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