The impressive Rathaus or City Hall is Hamburg's seat of government: It is where Hamburg Parliament and the Senate assemble. The eclectic, neo-renaissance building from 1897 is open to the public, visitors may join a guided tour or visit an exhibition.
Hamburg Parliament, the Senate and the First Mayor all have their seats in the City Hall on Rathausmarkt. After several relocations, fires and other turmoil, the current City Hall is the sixth edition in Hamburg's history. Construction started in 1886 with 4000 wooden poles that had to be drilled into the muddy shores of the Alster Lake, in order to carry the weight of the 133 m wide, 70 m deep and 112 m tall building. Special care was given to construct a passageway to connect the new building to the Chamber of Commerce as well as the Hamburg Stock Exchange. The courtyard between these buildings resembles an Italian piazza and is decorated with the 'Hygieia-fountain', which was named after the Greek goddess of health and built in remembrance of the cholera epidemic that took place in 1892. After 11 years of labour, the City Hall with its 647 rooms was opened in 1897.
The City Hall is open Mon ─ Sun from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with several guided tours available to visitors. The Rathausmarkt in front of the City Hall is a popular venue for fairs, markets and concerts.