Town hall

In local government, a city hall, town hall, civic centre (in the UK or Australia), guildhall, or a municipal building (in the Philippines), is the chief administrative building of a city,[2] town, or other municipality. It usually houses the city or town council, its associated departments, and their employees. It also usually functions as the base of the mayor of a city, town, borough, county or shire, and of the executive arm of the municipality (if one exists distinctly from the council).

New York City Hall, the oldest continuous seat of local government in the United States, completed in 1812[1]
Town hall, police, and fire station in South Palm Beach, Florida, United States
16th-century Fordwich Town Hall in Kent, England, closely resembling a market hall in its design
The Sydney Town Hall, marking the Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1901
13th-century Old Town Hall in Wrocław, Poland
The Alsfeld town hall in Germany as an example of a half-timbered town hall from the transition from Gothic to Renaissance
George Town City Hall, Penang, houses the office of Municipal Council of Penang Island in Malaysia
Town hall of Recife, Brazil
Stockholm City Hall, where the Nobel Banquet takes place on 10 December each year.

By convention, until the middle of the 19th century, a single large open chamber (or "hall") formed an integral part of the building housing the council. The hall may be used for council meetings and other significant events. This large chamber, the "town hall" (and its later variant "city hall") has become synonymous with the whole building, and with the administrative body housed in it. The terms "council chambers", "municipal building" or variants may be used locally in preference to "town hall" if no such large hall is present within the building.

The local government may endeavor to use the building to promote and enhance the quality of life of the community. In many cases, "town halls" serve not only as buildings for government functions, but also have facilities for various civic and cultural activities. These may include art shows, stage performances, exhibits and festivals. Modern town halls or "civic centres" are often designed with a great variety and flexibility of purpose in mind. In some European countries, the town hall is the venue for the declaration of Christmas Peace, such as Turku and Porvoo in Finland[3] and Tartu in Estonia.[4]

As symbols of local government, city and town halls have distinctive architecture, and the buildings may have great historical significance  for example the Guildhall, London. City hall buildings may also serve as cultural icons that symbolize their cities.

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