Sights to See in Ieper/Ypres
This page provides a listing and location of sights and places to visit in the city of Ieper/Ypres, many of which have a First World War interest.
Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle)
The famous medieval Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle) of Ypres was completely destroyed by 1918. After the war it was restored. It now houses the Town Hall, the Tourist Office and In Flanders Fields Museum.
34 Grote Markt
The belfry is open to the public as part of a visit to the In Flanders Fields Museum.
Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle) Bronze Replica
A replica bronze scale model of the Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle) by Georges Baert is situated on the southern side of the market place (Grote Markt) close to the Cloth Hall.
Tourist Office & Visitor Centre for Ypres and the Westhoek
34 Grote Markt
The Tourist Office & Visitor Centre is located on the south façade of the Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle). There is a well-stocked shop with books, maps, cards and more.
In Flanders Fields Museum
34 Grote Markt
An award winning museum with interactive displays is located in the Cloth Hall.
't Klein Stadhuis, Den Anker & De Trompet
32, 30, 28 Grote Markt
The three taverns in the north-west corner of the Grote Markt were destroyed in 1914-1918. They were rebuilt after the war.
The original building dated from 1501 and was destroyed in 1914-1918. The building was rebuilt with some modifications. It currently houses the Commercial Court, the Juvenile Court and the Justice of the Peace Court.
Court of Justice
The original building in this location was a hospital from 1187 to 1914 by the name of Onze-Lieve-Vrouwgasthuis or Hôpital Nôtre Dame. When the building was reconstructed it was decided to house the Court of Justice here. After the war the hospital was relocated to the Lange Torhoutstraat.
Meensestraat leads from the Grote Markt (market place) to the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. Allied troops passed along this road to go forward into the Salient.
Ypres Town Cemetery & Extension
Ypres Town Cemetery and Extension was in use for burials of British casualties from October 1914 to April/May 1915. Some of the first British Army casualties killed in the Ypres Salient are buried here amongst the civilian graves. The British & Commonwealth graves are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing
The British & Commonwealth Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing was built on the site of what had previously been the town gate to Menen/Menin. It was known as the Menenpoort/Porte de Menin. By 1914 the gateway was simply a cutting in the ramparts. From autumn 1914 Allied soldiers passed through this place on their way to carry out working parties or to fight in the Ypres Salient. Many thousands were never to return.
Kasteelgracht Moat & Fortified Ramparts
The moat surrounding the eastern town ramparts from just north of the Menin Gate Memorial to the Lille Gate (Rijselsepoort) is called the Kasteelgracht.
Access by Ramp to the Ramparts
Access by ramp to the ramparts and the south colonade of the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing can be made from the junction of Meensestraat and Bollingstraat. Steps from the pavement within the Memorial also lead to the ramparts on the north and south of the Memorial.
Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing Bronze Replica
Ramparts, south side of Menin Gate Memorial
A metal replica model of the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is located on the ramparts at the south side of the memorial. It can be touched as a visual aid for those with sight impairment.
Indian Forces Memorial
Ramparts (south of Menin Gate Memorial)
Memorial to the 130,000 troops of the Indian Forces who served in Flanders during the Great War of 1914-1918. The memorial is located on the ramparts to the south of the Menin Gate Memorial.
Ramparts Walking & Cycling Path
Access from Meenseweg/Bollingstraat junction
Walk or cycle along the ramparts from the Menin Gate to the Lille Gate (Rijselsepoort). The route takes approximately 25 minutes to walk. The path is suitable for wheelchairs and prams.
Tenaille Fortification Feature
This feature in the ramparts is called a tenaille. Steps and a walkway lead from the ramparts walking path to the level of the moat.
Ramparts Bridge (Vestingbrug)
A walking and cycling bridge, opened in 1999, crosses the Kasteelgracht moat to the former Hornwerk area of the old fortifications.
Sculpture by Johan Beele. The plaque reads: In the utterly ruined “Cat Town” of IEPER the allied forces were our only source of hope! Hope to give our youth a future in freedom. Gift of CCMP to its patron town. 15 June 2005.
Kasteelgracht Moat & Rampart
View of the Kasteelgracht moat and the south-east part of the town ramparts.
Bridge over Rijselsestraat (Lille Gate/Rijselsepoort)
Southern Ramparts (Rijselsestraat)
The pathway along the ramparts crosses the Rijselsestraat via the bridge of the Lille Gate (Rijselsepoort).
Southern Ramparts (Rijselsestraat)
Originally begun for French military casualties the Ramparts Cemetery overlooks the Majoorgracht moat. 198 British and Commonwealth casualties are buried here, including 17 year old Sapper William John Scholz, Royal Engineers.
Rose Coombs Walk, Lille Gate (Rijselsepoort)
At the Lille Gate there is a sloping path between the ramparts walking path and the road. This path was named “Rose Coombs' Walk” in the early 1990s. The late Rose Coombs was the author of the first modern and highly acclaimed guidebook to the battlefields Before Endeavours Fade, first published in 1976. She made many visits to Ieper.
Imperial War Graves Commission Signs, Lille Gate (Rijselsepoort)
Post-war Imperial War Graves Commission signs can be seen on the Lille Gate (on the Rijselsestraat road on the east side of the gateway) directing visitors to British & Commonwealth cemeteries in the southern Ypres Salient.
Lille Gate (Rijselsepoort)
Southern Ramparts (Rijselsestraat)
The Lille Gate (Rijselsepoort) is a water sluice gate and road gate at the south entrance to the town. By 1914 it was the only one of several gateways into the town that still took the form of a formal gateway. It survived destruction by First World War artillery shelling. Its protective walls housed military headquarters in 1914-1918.
Lille Gate & Kasteelgracht
The Kasteelgracht moat and the Lille Gate (Rijselsepoort) seen from the path on the south side of the moat. Sint Pieterskirk is visible in the town beyond the Lille Gate.
Lille Gate & Majoorgracht
The Majoorgracht moat and the Lille Gate (Rijselsepoort) seen from the pathway on the south side of the moat.
Until the mid 1800s there were many wooden houses and wooden façades on buildings in the town. An example of a wooden façade, reconstructed in the same location after the war, can be seen near to the Lille Gate (Rijselsepoort) on the Rijselsestraat.
Minckhuisje Fish Market Toll Booth
Originally built in 1899 in Vismarkt, location of the fish market, this building was reconstructed in the 1920s.
Ieper War Victims Monument
A memorial to the civilian and military victims from Ieper/Ypres who died in the 1914-1918 war. It also commemorates victims from Ieper who died between 1940-1945. It is known locally as “The Ieper Fury”.
The square is named after Alphonse Vanden Peereboom, a former mayor of Ypres and Belgian government minister. On special commemorative occasions and annually on 11 November the bands, Standard Bearers and military units form up here for parades to the Menin Gate.
St. George's Memorial Church
The church is a “living memorial”. It was built after 1918 in the memory of British and Commonwealth troops who lost their lives in the Great War.
Ypres Reservoir Cemetery
Over 2,600 British and Commonwealth casualties are buried in the cemetery. The cemetery was built on what had been a large grassy area known as the “Plaine d'Amour” or “Minneplein” before 1914.
Veemarkt (Cattle Market)
Before the war this small square was the Veemarkt (cattle market). The iron fences were reconstructed after the 14-18 war, based on a medieval design, by the town architect Jules Coomans. The Ieperlee river originally flowed through this square from the west end of the Cloth Hall. From 1686 the river was covered over in a vaulted tunnel. It is still flowing unseen under the street today.
Cloister Gate (Klosterpoort)
The gate to the St. Martin's Monastery was built from 1788 and originally had two wooden doors. It is one of the few structures which survived destruction in 1914-1918. It was restored in the 1930s.
The Parnassushof building, which had contained a stage, was originally in this location before the war. After the war the architect Jules Coomans designed this building for reconstruction as the town theatre.
St. Martin's Cathedral Ruins
Some pieces of stonework from the destroyed cathedral are to be seen in the grounds of St. Martin's Cathedral.
Munster Irish War Memorial
A memorial to the men from Munster in Ireland who died in the Great War of 1914-1918. It is situated in the grounds of St. Martin's Cathedral.
St. Martin's Cathedral Rose Window
The Rose Window at the south door of the cathedral is a memorial to the Belgian King Albert from the British Army and the Royal Air Force.
Donkerpoort & Big Bertha Shell
Donkerpoort (passage between Sint-Maartinsplein & Grote Markt)
A large German artillery shell is located in the Donkerpoort passage between Sint Martinsplein and the Grote Markt. The shell is from a 42cm heavy gun, called “Dicke Bertha” by the German Army and nicknamed in translation “Big Bertha” by the British Army. (At night the passage is closed for access.)
Guided Walks of Ieper
Information, maps and leaflets for self-guided walks around the town by map or walking tours with a guide is available from the Ieper Tourist Office. Two key routes are signposted or marked out for visitors: the Ramparts Route and the Heritage Route. The Heritage Route is marked on the pavements by a series of bronze rivets.
The Ieper Tourist Office website for more:
Website: www.toerisme-ieper.be Walking in Ypres
Vesting Ieper, Wandeling in een historisch landschaap, Lieven Stubbe, Dominiek Dendooven, Johan Termote, Philippe Vanderghote
The Reconstruction of Ieper: A Walk Through History, by Dominiek Dendooven and Jan Dewilde
Ieper in oude prentkaarten, by D Masure
Ieper La Carte - de Ieperse Vestinginen in Kaart Gebracht, von Ann Vanrolleghem