In the Middle Ages Town Hall Square (Ratslaukums) was the centre of public life of the city – there were stalls and workshops and popular festivals used to occur here. From the balcony of the Town Hall municipal ordinances used to be read out, punishments were executed here and pageants used to be arranged as well. It is thought to have been formed in the second half of the 13th century after expansion of the city in 1211; initially on Town Hall Square there was a market. In the early 19th century there was erected a figure of Roland – an old symbol of judicial power, freedom and independence of many European cities. A luxurious development of the square was completely destroyed during World War II. In our century the main buildings of the square – The Town Hall and the House of Blackheads – have been restored anew.