Ypres Tourist Attractions

Ypres (Flemish Ieper) is situated in the plain of West Flanders on the River Ieper (Ieperlee), a tributary of the Iser. Ypres is the chief administrative town for the district and fulfills important trade and services functions.

Lakenhalle

LakenhalleLakenhalle Bernt Rostad
In the Grote Markt stands the 132m/433ft-long Lakenhalle (cloth hall), rebuilt in 13th C. style.
The original building was begun around 1260 and completed in 1304. It was completely destroyed in the First World War, but the new building is one of the finest and largest secular buildings in Europe. The extent of the hall in which the cloth was stored, checked and sold, is indicative of the power wielded by the guilds within the town. Above the entrance door is the statue of the patron saint Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-van-Thuyne; in the niches are statues of count Balduin and Mary of Constantinople together with King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth. The large hall on the first floor is open to visitors.

Belfry

The 70m/230ft-high square belfry which projects from the center of the Lackenhalle is visible from the surrounding countryside. Its carillon of 49 bells is played from June to October at 9 p.m. From the tower there is a superb view over the plain of Flanders.
The tower is a UNESCO site.

Museum Salient 14-18

This museum on the first floor of the Cloth Hall chronicles the heavy fighting of the First World War. Exhibits include uniforms and equipment of all the armies, some architectural remains of the Lakenhalle and pictures of old Ypres.

Town Hall

On the east wing of the Cloth Hall a new building (Nieuwerck), a town hall, was added in 1619 in the style of the Spanish Renaissance, which has also been reconstructed. It bears the coat of arms of the Spanish King Philip II.

Meat Hall

Opposite the Lakenhalle to the south on the corner of Boomgaardstraat stands the Nieuw Vleeshuis (meat hall), dating back to 1277, where meat was sold on Saturdays until 1947.

Old Town Hall

At the north end of the Grote Markt on the left is the Kasselrijgebouw (Old Town Hall) with the Seven Deadly Sins represented in the gables.

County Court

On the east side of the Grote Markt is the Gerechtshof (County Court), a Renaissance reconstruction, on the site of the 12th C. Onze-Lieve-Vrouwgasthuis.

Menin Gate

From the east end of the Grote Markt it is just a short distance to the Menin Gate, built by the architect Sir Reginald Blomfield on the site of the medieval town gate, through which the British soldiers marched to the front. The names of the 54,896 British soldiers who were killed or missing in action are inscribed under its arches. Every evening at 8 p.m. since 1928 the Last Post is sounded.

Sint-Maartenskathedraal

Behind the Cloth Hall to the north stands Sint-Maartenskathedraal, rebuilt in 1922 (13th C. origin; 15th C. south entrance and tower). Its large-scale proportions are reminiscent of the monumental French cathedrals. The tower is over 100m/328ft high.

Sint-Maartenskathedraal Treasures

Inside are some art treasures which survived the war; a brass font (around 1600) and the picture of Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-van Thuyne, believed to have miraculous powers. Inside the church are buried Bishop Jansenius (founder of Jansenism), Georgius Chamberlain (died 1634; sixth bishop of Ypres) and Count Robrecht of Bethune.
The glass paintings are a present from Great Britain to commemorate the war losses.

Old Fish Market

At the old fish market with the Fish Gate of 1714, southwest of the Grote Markt, the small customs house (Minckhuisje) and two stalls have been reconstructed.

Saint-George's Memorial Church

North of the cathedral, opposite the theater (Schouwburg) on the corner of Vandenpeerboomplein, the Anglican Church commissioned Sir Reginald Blomfield 1927-1928 to build Saint George's Memorial Church to commemorate the soldiers of the British Commonwealth who were killed in battle in Flanders.
The entire interior of the church was funded by Great Britain and the Commonwealth, together with the statue of St George and the plaque with the famous poem "In Flanders Field". Nearby the Etonian Memorial School honors the 342 students of Eton College killed in action.

Belle Godshuis

In Rijselstraat south of the Grote Markt stands the Belle Godshuis, a hospital for the poor founded in 1276 and rebuilt in the 16th and 17th C. It is now a museum about the history of the hospital and has fine paintings, church artifacts and furniture from this period.

Museum Merghelynck

Not far south of Belle Godshuis is the Merghelynck Museum, housed in the 1774 building of the Empress Maria Theresia's treasurer, Frans Merghelynck. Part of the splendid Louis XV and Louis XVI interior survived the First World War and was rehoused in the restored house.

Steenhuis

Diagonally opposite the Merghelynck Museum is the Steenhuis, now a post office, the only stone building left standing in Ypres (originally 13th C.).

Municipal Museum

At the south end of the Rijselstraat a narrow street leads off to the right to the Stedelijk Museum in a 13th C. poor hospital; it illustrates the town's history.

Rijselpoort und Majoorgracht

The Rijselstraat ends at the Rijselpoort (Lilletor), a massive fortified gate, from the Burgundian period. The British general staff had its headquarters in the casemates for a while. Near the gate ruins of the old ramparts can still be seen. A walk along the Majoorgracht with the "Halve Man" offers charming views. Boats can be hired from the "Eilandje".
Not far from the gate inside the fortifications the "Houten Huis" has been restored, a 16th C. wooden house, one of about 90.

Bicycle Museum

Part of a pub at 18 Vaartstraat has been converted into an unusual bicycle museum.

Poelkapelle Cemetery

A WW1 cemetery for 7479 soldiers killed in action.
British Site.

In Flanders Field Museum

A modern museum that details the history of WW l through multi-media exhibits and scale models. The museum tries to tell stories via new technologies in order to recreate the sights and sound of this tumultuous period in history.
Address: Grote Markt 34, Lakenhallen, B-8900 Ieper, Belgium

Cat's Festival

The Ypres Cat Festival which takes place on the second Sunday in May every other year is famous throughout the area. There is a large procession through the town with the giants Goliath, Robrecht the Friesan and Cieper the giant cat. It reaches a climax with stuffed toy cats being thrown down from the belfry.

Surroundings

Tyne Cot CemeteryTyne Cot Cemetery

Bellewaerde Park, Belgium

This leisure park has jungle boats, a cowboy village and Mexican village.
Bellewaerde Park provides family entertainment with rides geared to varying ages, a water park and more than 300 exotic animals.

Battlefields of the First World War

Ypres Map - Tourist Attractions Ypres Map - Attractions
  • (1) Cloth Hall
  • (2) "Nieuwerk" (Stadhuis)
  • (3) St Maartenskathedraal
  • (4) Schouwburg
  • (5) St George's Memorial Church
  • (6) Vleeshuis
  • (7) Gerechtshof (law courts)
  • (8) Kasselijgebouw
  • (9) Ypres Reservoir Military Cemetery
  • (10) Rampart Military Cemetery

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