The center of the city’s judiciary until 1984, the Landhuis (Palace) of the Liberty of Bruges also served as the administrative HQ of the region of Flanders around Bruges from the Middle Ages onward. Much of it was rebuilt between 1722 and 1727 and the palace now houses the city archives. It’s chiefly visited for the exceptional Renaissancezaal (Renaissance Chamber) ★★, which has been restored to its original 16th-century condition, and a monumental black marble fireplace decorated with a carved alabaster frieze and topped by an oak chimneypiece carved with statues of Emperor Charles V, who visited Bruges in 1515, and his grandparents. That’s quite memorable in itself for the size of some of the wooden codpieces. The gloomy oil painting by Gillis van Tilborgh was executed in 1659 and clearly shows the Charles V fireplace on its right-hand side, behind all the aldermen dressed in black robes.