Town hall, place of meeting for the citizens' representatives since the late Middle Ages, with administrative and representative bodies; in former times town halls also included grain stores, arms depots, the town scale, salt deposits etc.; town halls often have a tower with a clock. The old town hall in Vienna (Altes Rathaus) has a Gothic core, it was altered and extended in 1455-1457 and 1699-1706; the town hall in Wiener Neustadt was built in 1488, it was reconstructed in 1587-1590 and later redecorated in Baroque style. In 1452 Margarete von Dachsberg endowed the town of Krems with some houses which were altered in 1548 (hall and oriel) to serve as a town hall. There are also old town-hall buildings in St. Pölten (1501, Baroque façade 1727), in Hall in Tirol (donated to the town by Leopold IV in 1406, altered after 1453), in Feldkirch (core dates back to 1494), in Salzburg (acquired by the town in 1407, altered in 1616-1818, new façade in 1772) and in Bruck an der Mur (late Gothic façade 1792). Many town halls were built between the 16th and the 18th centuries, for example in Linz (1513, altered in 1658), Grein (1562), Gmunden (core dates back to the 16th century, stucco decoration 1756), Retz (16th century), Bregenz (1686, façade 1898), Steyr (built by J. G. Hayberger in 1756-1778) and Wels (redecorated in late Baroque style in 1748). Some significant buildings were constructed in the 19th century: in Baden (1815), New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) in Vienna (laid out around three courts, after plans by F. von Schmidt, neo-Gothic style, 1872-1883), in Graz (1887-1893 a four-storey building according to plans by A. Wielemans and T. Reuter). The town halls in Villach (1951-1954, replaced Khevenhüller Palace, which was destroyed during the war), in Leoben (1964-1973, after plans by K. Thornton) and in Linz (1979-1985 by R. Falkner and A. Fürtler) were all built in the 20th century. Large parts of the town hall in Innsbruck were altered in the 20th century.
In some municipalities, town castles or historic buildings were adapted for use as town halls, for example in Klagenfurt what used to be Rosenberg Palace and in Salzburg the Mirabell Palace are now town halls. As the overall volume of administrative work has increased, there has been a growing need for more room, so that very often only a part of the municipal bodies are located in the town halls.
Literature: H. Tufar, Das österreichische Rathaus, 1975.