The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
A salient is an area of the battlefield that extends into enemy territory and is surrounded on three sides. The Ypres Salient is centered around the ancient town of Ypres in Belgium (now known by its modern Flemish name — Ieper). The Ypres Salient was formed after the German Army was prevented from capturing Ypres in November 1914. From that time a tactically advantageous German Front Line was established on the slightly higher ground that surrounded the town to the north, east and south of it.
As you stand in the main square of Ypres and survey the ornate buildings around you it is hard to believe that the whole area was razed to the ground during the war and then later completely rebuilt.
Visitors to the Ypres Salient have been increasing steadily over recent years. There are now a number of good museums to visit, accommodation for visitors is plentiful and there are a growing number of tour companies and guides eager to explain the history of the area.
Last Post Ceremony
Every evening at 20.00 hours the road running through the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is closed to traffic. Buglers of the Last Post Association step out under the memorial to play Last Post as a daily ceremony of Remembrance.
Armistice Day Commemoration
11th November is a public holiday in Belgium. The town of Ypres/Ieper commemorates the Armistice of November 1918 with a number of events including The Poppy Parade and a Special Last Post at 11.00 hours as an act of Remembrance at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing.
Battles of the Ypres Salient
Within the first few months of the outbreak of the Great War the Ypres Salient witnessed the first of several major battles to occur there before the war ended on 11th November 1918. The major battles comprised:
- First Battle of Ypres, (19 October - 22 November 1914)
- Second Battle of Ypres (Battle Study) , (22 April - 25 May 1915)
- Battle of Messines, (7 - 14 June 1917)
- Third Battle of Ypres (Battle of Passchendaele), (31 July - 10 November 1917)
- Fourth Battle of Ypres - Battle of the Lys, (9 April - 29 April 1918)
- Battle of Ypres, (28 September - 2 October 1918)
Towns & Villages
Ypres - Ieper
The medieval town of Ypres (nowadays called by its Flemish name Ieper) was located at the centre of the 1914-1918 battlefields of the Ypres Salient. Ypres was razed to the ground during four years of fighting.
The Ypres Salient battlefields today offer numerous public and private museums. These museums contain resources ranging from rare battlefield artefacts and archive collections to original trench systems. Education Services are also available for school parties at the larger museums.
The scale of military casualties from the German, French and British Armies during the battles of the Ypres Salient amounted to several hundred thousand dead. Their graves are marked by over 100 military burial grounds on the old Ypres Salient 1914-1918 battlefields.
Monuments & Memorials
In addition to the military cemeteries, there are a number of large memorials to commemorate the names of “The Missing”, those servicemen whose bodies were never found or could not be identified. These memorials commemorate those who have no known grave in the Ypres Salient. There are also memorials to individuals, military units and civilians.
There are numerous sites to visit in the Ypres Salient where remains of the fighting can be seen. These include trenches, mine craters and concrete bunkers.
There is a range of visitors' accommodation in the area of the 1914-1918 Ypres Salient battlefields to suit all budgets. As a guide this website provides listings of hotels, guesthouses, hostels and Bed & Breakfast, self-catering, full board accommodation and campsites.
Where to Eat in and around Ypres
There are a wide range of options for eating at a range of restaurants, bistros, cafés and tea rooms for the individual traveller and tour groups.
Information and links for online tourist information or tourist offices for Flanders and West-Flanders (West-Vlaanderen).