27 January 2011

one day in Ieper

We spent a day in Ieper (Ypres), a town and a region continuously shaped by the First World War and its legacy.  Ieper's famous cloth hall, once left in ruins and rubble, now houses the remarkable In Flanders Field Museum.  

Tyne Cot Commnwealth War Graves Cemetery.  Dedicated in 1917, Tyne Cot is the burial ground for Commonwealth soldiers who served at the Ypres Salient.  There are over 10,000 graves, of which only about 2,000 are named.  It was designed to resemble an English garden.  We were there in February 2001. 

I went back in July 2009 and it looked like this:

The Ijzertoren: A monument to Flemish soldiers who served in the war.  The original structure was destroyed in 1946, allegedly by French-speaking radicals.  The current tower not only memorializes the Flemish sacrifices during the war, but also serves as a symbol of Flemish nationalism. The inscription at the top VVK - AVK stands for Vlaanderan voor Kristos, Alles voor Vlaanderan.

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