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Ypres town centre. View across the crowded marketplace to the rebuilt Cloth Hall, location of the In Flanders Field Museum.
Ypres town centre. View across the crowded marketplace to the rebuilt Cloth Hall, location of the In Flanders Field Museum.

Ypres (Flemish: Ieper, both pronounced "eep") [1] is a friendly Belgian Flanders town endowed with wonderful architecture and a troubled past. Ypres is best known as the site of three major battles of the First World War, the most famous being the Battle of Passchendaele from July—November 1916. The many memorials and cemeteries of the fallen in and around Ypres draw thousands of visitors each year. Population 36,000 (2005).


[edit] Understand

[edit] Town Name and Languages

The official Flemish name for the city is Ieper - this is the version of the name you will see most commonly in and around the predominately Flemish-speaking town. Most native English speakers, however, will know the town by its French name Ypres, as popularised in media and history texts during and immediately after the First World War.

[edit] History

The town of Ypres formed the centre of the so-called "Ypres Salient" during most of the First World War—an area of Allied (British and Belgian)-held land surrounded on three sides by the German front line that formed the northernmost section of the Western Front. Holding Ypres was vital for the Allies in their bid to prevent the Germans gaining control of all the Channel ports, vital for the transport and supply of the British Expeditionary Force. As a result, the city became the focus of several major battles to break in / out of the Salient and was subjected to fairly continuous bombardment by German artillery for most of the war. By 1918, little remained of the town but shattered ruins surrounded by muddy shell-pocked fields.

After the First World War, most of central Ypres was rebuilt with German reparations (war debt) money. This was a lengthy process: the famous Cloth Hall was not completed until the 1960s.

[edit] Get in

[edit] Get around

Ypres city centre is best approached on foot.

For visiting the war graves and memorials, one could use a car, cycle or take the guided "Battle field tour" -bus.

Ypres itself is easely reachable by train, or by car - highway to Kortrijk, then follow directions for Ieper (A19).

[edit] See

[edit] Landmarks and Memorials

  • the Menin Gate Memorial [2] - dedicated on 24 July 1927 as a memorial to the missing British and Commonwealth soldiers who fell in the Battle of Passchendaele. Has a Last Post Ceremony each night at 8.00 pm to remember those who died for our freedom, by the buglers.
  • the Cloth Hall - originally built around 1200 as a center of Flemish wealth, completely destroyed by German artillery shelling in 1916, the Cloth Hall was rebuilt, the project completing in 1962 and the symbol of a resurgent city. Contains the In Flanders Fields Museum (see below).

[edit] Museums and Galleries

  • In Flanders Fields Museum [3], Ypres Cloth Hall, open daily April - September 10am-6pm, open Tu-Su October - March 10am-5pm, last entry 1 hr before closing, admission adults €7.50, children 7-15 yrs €3.50
  • Ramparts Museum.
  • de Kattenstoet only once every 3 years (used to be annually), the town produces a town parade around the them of "cats throughout history", this is always one of the first weekends in may, last one was may 2006

[edit] Further afield

Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 Museum in a beautiful setting, telling the story of the Great War in chronological order. Lots of information on the different battles and a large selection of authentic artefacts on display. The big bonus of the museum in a reconstructed dug-out which lets you to experience what life under Flanders Fields must have been at the time. Open daily (February till end NOvember) from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. Admission : 5€, groups €3.

[edit] Do

  • Attend the Menin Gate ceremony at least once while in Ypres - held at 8 pm each evening details

Wonderful countyside. Good Walking and Cycling Routes. Haven for wildlife.

[edit] Buy

Lovely shops and cafes selling Belgian chocolates and beer.

[edit] Eat

The marketplace has several restaurants, pubs , and in summer, places to sit outside...

Tuesdays usually hosts music night outside, organised by "'t Klein Stadhuis" right next to the cloth halls, and the city hall...

[edit] Drink

[edit] Sleep

  • Varlet Farm, [4]. Bed and breakfast, on the old Passchendaele battlefield, named by British soldiers of the Great War. It was taken by the Royal Naval Division on October 1917. Close to all major memorials. Maps, guidebook, and tour guide available. 7 rooms. Small groups up to 18 people. Private collection on the farm showing artifacts dug up in the fields.

CHERRY BLOSSOM B&B http://www.cherryblossom.be Find your home from home on the Ypres Salient at this lovely friendly, English family run B&B at Brandhoek. (Noel Chavasse- Double VC is buried locally), Short distance from Ypres and Poperinge. 40 mins drive from Brugge/Ghent. Motorcyclists and Children are welcome. Good home cooking. Battlefield Tours arranged with local tour guides, can be tailored to suit your needs. Motorcycle tours also arranged. Garden and Bar Area. Evening Meals and Packed Lunches by arrangement. Tea and Coffee making facilities/TV in all rooms. Small collection of artifacts to view.

[edit] Stay safe

Ypres is generally very safe.

[edit] Get out


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