Ypres (Dutch: Ieper, both pronounced “eeper”) is a friendly town in Flanders 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 1917. The many memorials and cemeteries of the fallen in and around Ypres draw thousands of visitors each year.
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.
The attractions of Ypres are divided between the town center itself and several villages in the surrounding countryside – most of the battlefields and cemeteries are located in the latter. For these, a car, bike or an arranged tour would be best.
Sights in Ypres
The City of Peace Ypres and the In Flanders Fields Museum conserve the link with the war past. Because it is important for those who want to speak about peace and war today. The In Flanders Fields Museum presents the story of the First World War in the West Flanders front region.
Browse through the top 38 places to visit in Ypres. The official Dutch name for the city is Ieper – this is the version of the name you will see most commonly in and around the town. Most native English speakers, however, will know the town by its French name Ypres
From October 1914 until October 1918 the battlefi eld was barely a few kilometres away from the centre. The trenches had been dug from North to South to form an arc around Ypres. In that famous Ypres Salient no fewer than five bloody battles were fought.
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