The United Nations (UN) was created during a time when the world's nations aspired to work together to bring about peace. The UN's world headquarters is in, but not of, New York City: It is an 18-acre international zone belonging to its member nations.
Visitors may become startled during a tour of the United Nations when they realize they are in what is tantamount to a separate nation-state with its own fire department and post office. UN headquarters is often thought of as the striking glass building on the East River -- the high-rise visible in movies and on the news. The complex actually combines four major buildings. Three were completed in 1952: the 39-floor Secretariat building, the General Assembly building, and the Conference building. In 1961, the Dag Hammarskjold Library was added.
The General Assembly Hall, where representatives of the UN's 191 member nations meet, is the headquarters' largest room, seating more than 1,800. A subdued space, it features the UN emblem (a surprising rarity inside the complex) and abstract murals designed by French artist Fernand Leger.