The first town hall was built in 1486 on the Largo do Duque, near the Sé Cathedral, and until 1784 the town council used to meet there. Then followed a period with several removals to different places until 1802, when the town hall was finally moved to the Largo da Sé. Here it remained until 1913, when it was demolished. Today this square is occupied by some café-restaurants, among which is the famous Apolo café, opened in 1945.
Today’s Town Hall, located in the Rua dos Ferreiros, is an excellent example of civil architecture from the 18th century. This property was purchased from the family Carvalhal Esmeraldo in 1883.
The highlights of this building are its impressive doorway carved in grey stone and its magnificent reception area on the first floor with eleven windows, each of them equipped with its own balcony.
Thick iron gratings, usually to be seen on buildings from the 17th and 18th century, protect the windows on the ground floor, ans a splendid staircase makes the connection to the reception area on the first floor. An arch leads to a beautiful interior yard where one can see the marble statue of ‘Leda and the Swan’.
From the artistic remains of the Town Hall, some on exhibition in the old City Museum, a few English paintings from the 19th century as well as some paintings from Max Römer should be mentioned in particular.
On the Largo do Município, surrounded – apart from the Town Hall on one side – also by the Colégio Church and the Sacred Art Museum, you will find a fountain, built in 1942, showing an obelisk decorated with the city’s coat of arms and other elements with national characteristics.