Ypres City & Ramparts (Flanders - Belgium)

After the Cloth Hall & Belfry, our first stop in the afternoon was the St.Martin's Church

This is an episcopal Neo Gothic construction, as the rest of the city constructed after the First World War. On the altar here is Our Lady of Thuyne. In 1383, during a siege, the residents of Ypres prayed to her for protection and the armies left. So ever since then, an annual procession has been happening here. Doesn't that remind you of the story at Tournai?! The tower is a magnificient 100m. But climbing it isn't allowed.

Our next stop was the very interesting St.George's Church, which is more of a British war memorial than a religious place, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield. This is esp. for the relatives of the soldiers with no known graves, so they have a place to pay their respects. Everything here, including kneelers, stained glass windows, banners, plaques are dedicated and symbolize the various British regiments that fought the Great War.
A short walk from here we were at Paradijsstraat (Paradise Street) which led to the parallel street to the main road. Did you guess already? Yes, its the yesteryear's red light area (yup, that's why 'paradise')!!! Now, a very decent, quite, residential neighborhood though! The end of this street led to the Ramparts.

Our first stop was the Leeuwentoren (Lion's Tower), or rather the ruins of what's left of it. It dates to the 14th C and is of 13mt diameter. The tower's height was reduced during French era to use them as artillery platform. This is along the moat and the waterbody here is such a beauty. The land has protruding corners and manmade islands in the moats which is perfect for playing hide & seek with the enemy!


Here is the Ramparts Cemetary, aka Lille Gate Cemetary. This is a commonwealth cemetery with 190 burials in it. This is the nearest war grave cemetary close to the city and this is one of the few cemeteries that have dedicated head stones to Maori tribes. Next to this is the Lille Gate. This is the only surviving gate of the 14th C fortification walls.


Next stop is the Kasematten Browerij which has been in existence since 2014. This is a part of the fortification which was used during the war as a dormitory for British troops as well as for storage of ammunition. Just beside it is a wooden horse affixed to the wall. Well, remember the medieval torture devices of Ghent Gravensteen Castle? Well, this is one. The back of this wooden horse is sharp edged and the punished one has to sit on it with sand bags tied to his legs!!! This is not an original though, just a recreation.

Next we were at the Ice cellar. Ages ago, large freezers came into being, ice was stored here. During winter, the moat would be filled with ice which was brought here and stored. Its room is underground and has double brick wall which keeps the ice intact atleast till mid July! This was used to preserve meat and fish and was used also for medicinal purposes. Ice was covered with straw to preserve it longer.
Our final stop was ofcourse, Menin Gate Memorial. This has the names of 54,896 Commonwealth soldiers who don't have a dedicated burial site. Every night at 8 PM the Last post ceremony happens here. Make sure to be here by atleast 7:30 if you want a place with good visibility of all sides. The ideal location would be on the Bollingstaart closest to the centre of Menin Gate till the railing.

To Stay:
Hotels & B&Bs at all price points are available in Ypres City Centre. 

To Get There:
To Ypres (Ieper): Refer to my last post
On Google Maps:

Entry Fee & Timings:


My complete Ypres travelogue: coming soon.

P.S: I was invited by Ieper Tourism to experience the city for review purposes, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

10 comments:

  1. The St.Martin's Church looks very impressive and beautiful. I really like the Neo Gothic Style, even though as a German I grew up with seeing many of such buildings. The history of the Paradise Street sounds very interesting, to be honest the main purpose as a red light district was maybe not my first association, but thats good to know :) All in all this tour sounds really interesting and it is great to see that you discovered so many fantastic places.

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  2. What I like about this Ypres post is that everything is free, so no matter your travel budget, it’s all accessible. That’s funny that Paradise Street is now a great residential area. Unbelievable that there’s still a fortified gate from the 14th century - this is what I like about European travel, you get to see history.

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  3. I love all the Neo Gothic architecture and all the history that goes along with it. Very interesting that they had ice cellars back then, I guess they were ahead of their time!

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  4. St Martin's church is my favourite pick in Ypres, from your post, I love the architecture! Also, Ramparts Cemetary looks cool. I haven't been to Belgium yet but I plan to visit during Christmas next year. I wonder how the vibe during holiday season would be!

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  5. Loved the heritage and historic experience of this virtual tour to these amazing sites in Ypres City. The stories and background of a place add so much more meaning to the journeys. Ramparts Cemetery seems very unique and unlike any other cemetery we have seen so far. Good luck for your upcoming Ypres travelogue!

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  6. I've definitely never heard of Ypres in Belgium before, until now! I like that it's still called Paradise Street; what a joy for the people that live there! The Gothic church is stunning too. Great photos that show off the place too!

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  7. I can believe that there is so much more to see and do in Belgium apart from the more promoted and touristy towns like Bruges Antwerp and the likes. This is so beautiful specially the architecture of St Martins church . The ice cellar is another interesting part covered by the tour and something unique. Overall a great place I must say

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  8. Neo Gothic style of architecture is always a pleasure to read and capture on lens. The ice-cellar looks interesting and seems like a lot of thought went into building it. LOved this virtual heritage tour!

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  9. Hi Bhusha,
    I have been away a lot and not visiting your blog for a while. Congratulations, I didn't know you had become a Mum. Well done and best wishes for the future.
    Roy

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