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Ypres - To See & Do - Must Sees

Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle)

Situated on the Grote Markt, this huge and impressive building was built in the 13th century and was one of the most beautiful Gothic buildings in Europe. Unfortunately this was destroyed in WWI and rebuilt between 1933 and 1967. Originally the Cloth Hall had no less that 48 doors opening from the selling halls onto the streets and the boats used to sail in and out on the river delivering products. Wool was stored during the winter on the upper floors and cats were brought in to keep the mice down. It was the notorious cats from this hall that were thrown from the windows to the hostile crowd below, and there began the Festival of the Cat (Kattestoet). The Belfry Tower is part of the Cloth hall and was used as a look out over the area and the comings and goings of the town.

Town hall (Staduis)

Attached to the east side of the Lakenhalle, the building is of both gothic and Renaissance style. The building rests on a grand arcaded gallery and boasts an array of windows, arches and gables and superb stain glass designs. The amazing council chamber of grand design can be viewed by the public when not in use from 8.30 am to 11.45 am.

Flanders Fields Museum

A museum designed to take you back to the years of the First World War; the museum displays documentary films and interactive displays as well as original documents. The museum shows how the town of Ypres was completely destroyed following the war and was consequently and rather miraculously rebuilt. The museum also displays photographs and personal effects of the men and women caught up in the military campaign, in addition to a section that simulates a gas attack. The Flanders museum brings to life the monstrosities of the war but also carries a message of peace and thoughts of the future. The museum is located on the first floor of the reconstructed Cloth Hall on the Market Square or Grote Markt.

St Martins Cathedral

St Maartens-kathedraal is a superb copy of the 13th century Gothic styled structure, reconstructed after the First World War. There is the grave of the named heretic Jansenius, a bishop from 1635, a stunning side altar that depicts the siege of 1383 and a tower that is 100 metres high. On the north side of the cathedral is the cloister gallery.

St Georges Memorial Church

A living memorial to those men who fought in this area in the First World War, the church was built in 1929, under instruction from Field Marshal Sir John French, the first Earl of Ypres, commander of the British army in 1914. A rather sad and moving atmosphere engulfs the building but it is definitely somewhere worth visiting.

Military cemeteries

Ypres Reservoir Cemetery

A British Commonwealth graveyard situated north of the memorial church up the Minneplein. A short walk past the Menin Gate and the ramparts stands the Ramparts Cemetery. Situated adjacent to the old Lille Gate, this is also a British Commonwealth cemetery.

Menin Gate

This is a lovely monument built on the site of the old Menepoort that served as the main route for British soldiers heading to the front. The fortifications of eastern side of Ypres opened through Hangoart Poorte onto the Menen Road but by 1914 this was just a gap in the fortifications through which the soldiers passed through to reach the Salient. In 1927 the Menin Gate was put in its place to remember the dead. The long list of names seems never-ending, and will definitely leave you in awe of the men who fought here. 54,896 officers are named alongside another 34,984 men who died near the end of the war.

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