Singapore, city, capital of the Republic of Singapore. It occupies the southern part of Singapore Island. The city, once a distinct entity, so came to dominate the island that the Republic of Singapore essentially became a city-state. Its strategic position on the strait between the Indian Ocean and South China Sea, complemented by its deep water harbour, has made it the largest port in Southeast Asia and one of the world’s greatest commercial centres.
Singapore known variously as the “Lion City” or “Garden City,” the latter for its many parks and tree-lined streets has also been called “instant Asia” because it offers the tourist an expeditious glimpse into the cultures brought to it by immigrants from all parts of Asia.
The traditional city proper stretches north and east of the port area and is characterized by low (140–150-foot [40–50-metre]) hills. Within the city run the Singapore and Rochor rivers, which are tidal inlets crowded with native craft. The original settlement north of the Singapore River remains the heart of the city; it is the locale of the principal commercial, government, and public buildings and the Anglican St. Andrew’s Cathedral (1862).
Singapore’s port area, one of the world’s largest, covers 36 square miles (93 square km). The Port of Singapore Authority operates six gateways Jurong port, Container Terminal, Keppel, Telok Ayer, Sembawang, and Pasir Panjang wharves that provide facilities for vessels ranging from oceangoing liners to lighters. The Keppel wharves, which lie protected between the islands of Brani and Sentosa, are deep water and contain major docks and warehouses. Keppel is Southeast Asia’s major transshipment point for exports of oil, rubber, plywood, lumber, and spices.