Old Houses, Ieper
Already in the 13th century here was a building where meat was butchered and traded to the highest bidders. In the 16th century a store was added and the building as we see it in present days came into being. The lower stores kept being for the meat market. The upper stores were both storage as well as office space for the Saint Michael (Sint Michiels) guild, the one of the butchers. The house being a meat market kept so until the 20st century after which it was the town's historic museum for a while (until 1973).
In medieval times the guilds were the powerful professional associations. They were organised not only in the proper exploitation of their profession (for example, bakers, butchers, surgion/hairdressers, chimneysweepers, archers etc.), but also organising funding, education and a whole series of social benefits for there members. The "club"-house was often showing the world how "rich" a certain guild was and through the years one renewed, remodelled or even completely built a new, to the length of their wealth.
Now we leave the Market Square and the amazing attractions like the Lakenhal, Belfort and Cathedral behind us and walk into the "Meense straat" (Menin Street). On the corner is the bark styled Yperley house something to remark and the small alley running away besides it is called the "Gevangenis straat" (Prison street). Yes, indeed, here it was that the prison used to be, but only the fundaments of it remain as now-a-days houses have been placed on top of it. There is however a nice view onto the tower of the Saint Jacobs church from this alley, so ... maybe quickly go in and take a picture, before we walk on into the street that has few very wonderful shops. Especially the candy store (Belgian chocolates, beers and regional specialties) and the bookstore (everything there is about the first world war you can find here).
This house is a reconstruction of the original wooden house that always has been in this place until a bomb in the Great War hit it and it burned to the ground. It dates back to 1575 and shows many signs of the late Gothic and early Renaissance architecural styles.
When we walk into the street besides the wooden house and then go right, a hundred meters walking we will end up at a very old building. This is the Sint Jans Godshuis (Saint John's house of God) and it houses the city museum now-a-days. It used to be for the care of ill people, as well as pelgim-travellers. Therefor it is so close to one of the gates. This particular house dates back to 1270 when it was founded by the rich trader Pieter Broederlam. That what we see is the original from 1555, when it was reconstructed. Though damaged, this is one of the few houses that was left after the first world war. In the museum you can see a large collection of ancient scetches, paintings and cards.
Open from 1-4 until 31-10 from 10:00 to 18:00 hours (except lunchbreak)
Open from 01-1 until 31-3 from 10:00 to 17:00 hours
Closed on Mondays and between Christmas and New Year.
We return then through the same street until we are back on the Rijselse straat. We immediately are eye in eye with a magnificent large building on the other side of the street. On both sides it has two pointy towers rising up in the sky and the forms are definately gothic. This is the only remaining "steen" (stone) of Ieper, the name that one gave in medieval times to the "stone" houses of wealthy traders, called patricians. later in those times the building has belonged to the Tempel knight, a German order that was especially active in the Eastern crusades (towards the Baltics). The house is 13th century and made of natural stone. In modern times it has been a while the postoffice of Ieper.
Ypres, completely ruined during the WW I and rebuilded as from 1922 has a lot of gothic buildings to show.
- The palace of Justice : Located at the eastside of central market, eclectic architecture style with gothic elements - rebuilded in 1929
- The cloth Hall and Belfry : Located at the north of the central market (1ha) and originally builded in the early medievals - integrated Belfry - 70 m of height and the cloth itself a lenght of 132meters, decored with about 91 statues of which only a few are reconstructed after the great war. You will notice a lot of "Blank" portals.
- Many private/ religious houses were reconstructed by architect J.Coomans and of course
R.Blomfield, an architect living in London and who inspired the construction of the Menin Gate and the St-Georges chapel
The houses that belong to a foundation already founded in 1276 were originally a hospital. Later it focussed more on elderly women. In the 17th century the buildings were completely renovated from foundations of the wealthy families Guines and Belle (the were already present from the start). The family weapons can be found upon the facade as well as kneeling statues of the members at that time. With these renovations a chapel was built and connected to the main house. In the chapel there is a museum, the "God's house Belle". It contains a collection of paintings, furniture, church-cloths, silverware, pottery, lace and tinwork. It also shows old originals of the city stamps, the ones that were used to seal official documents.
Openen between the 1st of April and the 31st of October from 10:00 until 12.30 and from 14:00 until 18:00 hours. Mondays closed.
The large square in the centre of Ieper, in front of the Lakenhal, though the more Eastern part of it, is like in all Lowlands towns called the "Grote Markt" (Marketsquare). Historically seen all important villages got cityrights and therewith got a marketsquare. Having markets was one of the "rights" (priviliges) that a former lord (often of the nearby castle that formed the excistance basis of the village) granted to the citizens. Around such a square the guildes (professional associations) were comepting with one another by showing off. One built an even more beautiful guildhouse then the other. Resulting especialy in Belgium in few of the most spectacular squares in the world. Ieper can be proud to have one of them.
The Lowlands were - together with Northern Italy - the ground on which the renaissance made Europe awake from the darker centuries of medieval times. Here the power of the nobility, as well as the power of the church, were slowly making place for the power of the people. Guilds, but also citizens in generaly, became more and more powerful through their successes in trade and craftmenship. This together with an excellent internal organisation (the guilds) made their power in the politics grow and a more and more democratic proces started through this. Therefor one can easily say that the cradle of democracy lies in the Lowlands, thus Belgium and the Netherlands that is.
When looking from here into the main road, you'll see a large building with a sober baroc-like facade. There are flags waving above the entrance and the sign "Politie" means what you already can guess: Police. This was a former hospital, but is now a large police station of Ieper and surroundings. According to the size there's obvioulsy a lot of criminal behaviour in this are (-:
The Municipal Museum is accommodated in the Sint Jansgodshuis (St. John's Hospice) A hospice was used as a shelter for sick persons, pilgrims and travellers and was usualy built in the vicinity of the city gates. The Sint Jansgodshuis dates from 1555 and escaped the bombardments of the 1st Word War for the major part. At this location, the first trade center of the city arose in the 10th and 11th centuries.
In the Museum you can learn more about the history of the town illustrated with paintings, pictures and cards. In one room you can learn more about the fortifications of the town. There is also the tin collection and a collection of paintings.
From April to October: 10.00 - 12.30 and 14.00 - 18.00
From November to March: 10.00 - 12.30 and 14.00 - 17.00
Adults: € 2,50
Children under 7 years old: free
Children from 7 till 15 years: € 0.50
Groups: € 1.25 per person
Visiting World War I sites in Ieper, Belgium will be just 300m or less away from a perfect home base, that is Ambrosia Hotel in Ieper. Among other hotels in Ieper, Ambrosia hotel ieper is the perfect base since it is situated within 300m from the Cloth Hall and the Menin Gate at Ypres. Ambrosia hotel is the perfect base when visiting World War I sites.
Take a walk or bicycle ride to enjoy the charming beauty of Ieper/Ypres since the region of Ypres is a true paradise for cyclists and walkers! With high-quality bicycles, you can ride on the extensive network of bicycle routes in the area.
It goes without saying that a lot of the architecture in Belgium is centuries old. The buildings in Ieper are no different. However, much of the main cities have their centers built out of stone and brick. There are some homes, like the one in this photo, which date back to 1575.
Many were destroyed during WWI, but thankfully have been rebuilt.
This 13th cent building is classed from 1939 and is late gothic style for the first floor (15th cent)
Since 1937 is it the city museum.