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Town Hall – San Juan, Puerto Rico

“Love the light of justice who is at the service of his people.” Thus reads an inscription in Latin at the main entrance of this structure, known as the Mayor’s Office or City Hall of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In his main room, in 1812, Ramón Power and Giralt was proclaimed first Puerto Rican deputy to the Cortes de Cádiz. Two years later, the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country was established. In 1873, under the government of Rafael Primo de Rivera, the abolition of slavery was signed in Puerto Rico and in 1876 the Puerto Rican Athenaeum was founded and the first Royal Lottery was held.

The building exhibits paintings by María Cristina de Habsburgo and her son Alfonso XIII; Isabel II of Spain; the brigadier general Ramón de Castro, who led the defense against the English attack in 1797; and Governor Rafael Primo de Rivera. Also on display is the coat of arms of King Carlos III of Spain and the coat of arms of San Juan, with the Crown as a symbol of the United Kingdom of Spain. Only two cities, Havana in Cuba and Cartagena in Colombia, hold this distinction reserved in the walled cities of America.

On the first floor is the tourist office of San Juan and on the second floor is the Alcaldía House, of neoclassical colonial architectural style.

The Town Hall was built in 1602 in front of the Plaza de Armas and its façade was remodeled in 1843 by Pedro García. This would be the second built. The first Cabildo House is from 1523 and was located on Calle del Cristo. In 1940 the Town Hall was expanded, demolishing the old prison. In this last expansion you enter through the Calle de la Luna.

The clock in one of its towers was installed in 1814. Its Elizabethan style lamps are characteristic of the 19th century. The building has an interior courtyard.

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