City Council The City Council were classified as a Public Interest Property (IIP) on 30 April 1984. The city council exists since early (at least since 1559), although first it was only a small house covered with tiles. The city council occupies one of the most important palaces of the São Jorge island. This building constructed in the 18th century, between 1719 and 1744, in the reign of King John V of Portugal, presents a strong, solid and imponent architecture with clear baroque characteristics. Its construction was ordered by Manuel Avelar, a member of one of the richest families which resided in São Jorge in the 18th century. The coat of arms in its door was made with stone removed from Pico Alto, Toledo. Regarding this building’s construction, it includes a baseboard made of basaltic stone from the islands and it lies on an extensive frieze. The main Gate is flanked by two baroque columns. On its left side, it has two doors that, during the initial construction, were two windows, which correspondent to the access area to the barn for the storage of cereals. Above the façade, the Portuguese arms appear, engraved in black natural basalt stonework. On the right side of this magnificent gate, there are two windows which, also on the 18th century, belonged to the area which served as a prison for women; the male prison was located on the North side. Many years later, the building was enriched with a clock and bell tower, made out of wood and tuff in 1883. However, upon the City Council’s decision, the bell stopped ringing in 1884 and the tower was removed in 1936. Before this building was occupied by the City Council, besides the above-mentioned prison, it accommodated the court of Velas.