The city of Ypres is known for its rich history and culture. It's situated in the ‘Flemish Westhoek’, in the south of the West Flanders province, close to the french border, about 70km from Bruges. The city was rased to the ground during the first World War. Today, the Cloth Hall is home to the Flanders Fields Museum, dedicated to the first World War. At one of the city gates, the Menin Gate, the Last Post is played every day at 8 pm to commemorate the men who fell in Flanders Fields.
Ypres is also known as ‘The Cat City’, due to the medieval ritual during which cats were thrown from the Belfry. Today a Cat parade is still held in May, though the cats thrown from the Belfry are stuffed animals.
In the 13th century, Ypres was Flanders' 3rd city, after Ghent and Bruges, and played a prominent role in the County of Flanders through it's linen trade.
During the first World War, Ypers was surrounded on three sides by German troops. The Germans troops never succeeded in conquering the city. Nevertheless, Ypres was completely destroyed by their cannons. Today, the soldiers who fell defending the city are still commemorated daily during the Last Post ceremony, at 8 pm at the Menin Gate,
Around Ypres and throughout Flanders Fields, numerous cemetaries dot the landscape, the most famous one being the ‘Tyne Cot Cemetary’ in Passchendaele where British soldiers were laid to rest. Organised tours leave Bruges on a daily basis.
‘The Westhoek’ is famous for its excellent Passchendaele and Beauvoorde cheeses and the trappist beers brewed by the monks of the Abbey of Westvleteren. The Westhoek can easily be reached by car, by following the E403.
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