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On the face of it there’s nothing extraordinary about Ypres, or Ieper as it’s known in Flemish. It has a big and bustling market square, busy shops, bars, and restaurants, and the seemingly perfectly preserved Lakenhalle at the heart of it all, where cloth was traded during the town’s medieval heyday at the center of the wool and cloth business. But the real reason the town hall is so pristine is because the town and the countryside around was the site of one of the biggest, longest-running, and most futile battles of World War I, and much of the town has been rebuilt from scratch, including the impressive Lakenhalle, which now hosts an ...

On the face of it there’s nothing extraordinary about Ypres, or Ieper as it’s known in Flemish. It has a big and bustling market square, busy shops, bars, and restaurants, and the seemingly perfectly preserved Lakenhalle at the heart of it all, where cloth was traded during the town’s medieval heyday at the center of the wool and cloth business. But the real reason the town hall is so pristine is because the town and the countryside around was the site of one of the biggest, longest-running, and most futile battles of World War I, and much of the town has been rebuilt from scratch, including the impressive Lakenhalle, which now hosts an affecting museum of the conflict. It’s hard not to wander around town and be aware of the war and its aftermath, and many people come here to do just that, whether it’s to pay their respects at the vast cemeteries that lie just outside Ypres or to hear the last post sounded every night at 8 p.m. at the Menin Gate – itself a fearsome reminder of the huge losses incurred here, decorated with the names of more than 50,000 war dead.

Martin Dunford
About the Expert

Martin Dunford is the author or coauthor of eight Rough Guides: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Brussels, Belgium & Luxembourg, Italy, Rome, Naples & the Amalfi Coast, and New York City.

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Martin Dunford for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located in northern Belgium, approximately 90 miles from the capitol city of Brussels.
  • Language: Flemish and French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer, early fall