BRUGES : The Town Hall and the Burg Square. Count Baldwin I had a fortified castle built to protect the area against the ramping Normans and Vikings. One of the most beautiful buildings of Bruges can be seen here : the gothic town hall from 1376. It was one of thefirst monumental town halls in the Low Countries. In the front facade are six gothic windows. On the frontside are also displayed the town weapons of the cities and villages that were under administrative rule from Bruges. There are 48 niches for statues. The original statues (biblical figures and counts of Flanders) where demolished during the aftermath of the French Revolution. Their 19th century replacements have also already been changed for more modern versions. In the entrance hall a large staircase leads to the so-called Gothic Hall (1386-1401). This hall was decorated in 1895 with neo-gothic wall paintings that illustrate the most important events in the history of Bruges. The Burg square is really a showcase of different European architectural styles. Next to the gothic town hall stands the Old Civil Registry in renaissance style. (1534-1537). The decorative statues were also smashed to pieces in 1792, but later renovated. The bronze statues represent Justice, Moses and Aaron. Since 1883 the building is used as Peace Court. On its left side is another building in another style: the former Court of Justice in neo-classicist style. (1722-1727). Inside this building is the famous monumental chimney of the 'Brugse Vrije'. The chimney was built between 1528 and 1581 in wood, alabaster and marble, to commemorate the victory of Emperor Charles V on the French king François I in Pavia. The former Court of Justice now houses the Tourist Information center of Bruges.