A giant stainless steel statue of a seahorse is the latest landmark to be revealed in the city of Belfast.

Measuring 26 feet (8 metres), the piece was created by internationally acclaimed sculptor Ralf Sander, who was commissioned to create the sculpture by Belfast Harbour to celebrate the site’s 400th anniversary.

The statue can be located on Dargan Road, forming another attraction for both residents and tourists to see on the city’s large amount of informative Belfast tours.

The reason why a seahorse was chosen is due to the creature’s strong connections to the city, becoming an emblem on coins throughout the 17th century used amongst merchants and being consequently featured on Belfast’s official coat of arms. Following the trend amongst many cities and regions across the UK, Belfast’s sport teams also regularly use the sea creature on their uniforms and kit.

Sander hopes that his statue will further establish the seahorse as a unifying mascot for the city, which took four years to create. Featuring unconventional techniques of metal casting, much of the work for the statue was completed in an expert metalworking factory in South Korea.

Mythically the seahorse symbolises protection, recovery and health, adding to the mystique of the creature and its cultural importance in Belfast, where it was relied upon for providing safety and good health to both passengers and merchants who used the city’s harbour from the 17th century onwards.

The city’s tourist information centre will also benefit from the statue as it adds to the list of major attractions for people to view when visiting. Thanks to its historical harbour, the city’s nautical past was a major reason why Belfast was chosen as the city where the notorious HMS Titanic was docked, being the last place the ocean liner rested on dry ground before it set sail in 1911.

Belfast is also an ideal location for those who not only want to see Belfast, but want to explore other fascinating areas available to visit in Northern Ireland. Belfast’s tourist information centre for example hosts regular excavations for members of the public to embark on a Giants Causeway tour, located a few hours north from the city and voted the fourth greatest natural wonder of the UK in 2005.