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Friday, 20 June 2014

Our Flanders Adventure II

Ieper Cloth Hall today.
Our first stop on our visit to Belgium was an afternoon in Ypres. It's hard to believe that this bustling city was left a smoking ruin by repeated enemy shelling in the battles for the Ypres Salient.

The town's beautiful medieval Cloth Hall and St Martin's Cathedral were both reduced to a pile of rubble, but the city was rebuilt after the war.

The Cloth Hall is now home to the In Flanders Museum, and this is an amazing site to visit, whatever your nationality.
Photo postcard of the Cloth Hall before and during a fire in November 1914.

A display inside the In Flanders Field Museum.
When you enter the museum you are given a 'magic bracelet', which you use to log in to the museum computer, and you type in your surname and place of origin.

Then as you explore the museum, you use your bracelet at various points to access information, images and displays (in your own language) of stories and people caught up in the 'war to end all wars'.

Photo postcard of the ruins of the Cloth Hall in 1919. 

At the end of your visit, the museum computer tells you how many people with that surname died in the war (very interesting), and you can choose to have your museum 'experience' printed off or emailed to you. Then you can have a coffee in the cafe or rummage in the museum bookshop.
All modern photos © Sue Wilkes. All postcards from the author's collection.

Photo postcard of the ruined south portal of the Cathedral, postmarked 1918.

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