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A post office, historically also a posthouse, is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail, such as letters, small packages, and usually money.
Post offices offer mail-related services such as acceptance of mail and sale of postage stamps, post office boxes, and sale of packaging and stationery. In addition, some post offices offer non-postal services such as passport applications and other government forms, car tax purchase, money orders, and banking services.
A post office may have a main customer service and point of sale area. Many postal codes or ZIP codes route an item to a specific post office; some correspond to a specific route or even delivery point (business, residence, or post office box).
In a "sorting office" or "delivery office", mail is sorted or processed for delivery. Large open spaces for sorting mail are also sometimes known as a sorting hall or postal hall. Over time, sophisticated mail sorting and delivery equipment has been developed, including Mail Rail.
In Commonwealth countries, many of the larger post office buildings in capital cities used the official title of General Post Office. In parts of Europe, special Postal censorship offices were known as Cabinets Noirs.
After 1900, dedicated mail exchange facilities became common and postal services colocated customer services with businesses such as newsagents or railway stations for the convenience of customers and to cut costs. As a result, many purpose-built post offices became redundant and either fell into disuse or were adaptively reused; sometimes retaining the title of Post Office prefixed by Old or Former for historical and heritage reasons.
Whilst origins of the postal system date back to antiquity, the British Postal Museum claims that the oldest functioning post office in the world is on High Street in Sanquhar , in Scotland . This post office has functioned continuously since 1712 AD: an era in which horses and stage coaches were used to carry mail.
Unstaffed postal facilities 
In many jurisdictions, Mail boxes and post office boxes have long been in widespread use for dropoff and pickup (respectively) of mail and small packages outside of post offices or when offices are closed. Deutsche Post introduced the Packstation for package delivery (both dropoff and pickup) in 2001. In the 2000s the United States Postal Service began to install Automated Postal Centers (APCs) in many locations both in post offices (for when they are closed or busy) and in retail locations. APCs can print postage and accept mail and small packages.
See also 
- Drop Letter
- Postage stamp
- Freepost (also known as Business Reply Mail)
- Going postal
- Military mail
- Penny Post
- Post office box
- Postal administration
- Postal code, ZIP code
- History of United States postage rates
- Poste restante (also known as General Delivery)
- Universal Postal Union
- Wanted poster (Post Office Wall)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Post offices|
- GRC Database Information: worldwide post office website links
- Photos of post offices around the world
- Logos of post offices around the world
- Royal Mail
- The British Postal Museum & Archive
- United Kingdom Post Office site
- United States Postal Service
- Universal Postal Union