The Ypres ramparts are the best preserved in our country. However, they had a turbulent history.
Their story started ten centuries ago, when the city was founded on the Ieperlee. Canals and earthen walls protected the citizens of the prosperous city. The city walls reached a first peak around 1390 with high walls and sturdy corner turrets. Over the centuries the ramparts were adapted to cope with increasingly more powerful weapons.
Around 1680 the famous French engineer Vauban transformed the ramparts into a huge complex with frontal fortifications and bastions. Ypres defended the border of the states at the time and was a buffer that had to suffer many clashes between European dynasties. Each left its marks on the current rampart landscape, the green belt around the inner city.
Many rampart buildings were more or less preserved or restored. They are connected by the rampart road. It starts at the Ammunition dump goes through the Lille Gate - an important access gate with Gatekeeper's house and Lock room via the Ice cellar to past the Menin Gate. Those rooms can only be visited with a guide.
Many vaulted rooms are located in the city walls at various places, which were used for various purposes in the past The basements/casemates behind the Saint Jacob'ss church are open to the public every day, except on Monday. In the visitor's centre of the casemates you can discover the history of the ramparts in an interesting presenation of 10 centuries of ramparts in Ypres. There is also a cosy café with regional beers of Sint Bernardus brewery of Watou.