Ypres ē´prə [key], Du. Ieper, commune (1991 pop. 35,235), West Flanders prov., SW Belgium, near the French border. It is an agricultural market and an industrial center. Manufactures include textiles, textile-making machinery, and processed food. During the Middle Ages, Ypres was one of the most powerful towns of Flanders, with a flourishing cloth industry that rivaled those of Ghent and Bruges. However, political and social unrest and foreign wars led to the decline of this industry. A center of resistance to Spanish rule, the town was taken (1584) and sacked by Alessandro Farnese. It was held by France from 1678 to 1716 and from 1792 to 1814. In World War I, Ypres was the scene of three great battles (see Ypres, battles of). The town was completely destroyed during the war and was later rebuilt. Among the city's restored buildings are the Gothic Cathedral of St. Martin and the magnificent cloth-workers hall (both originally built in the 13th cent.). On the ramparts of the fortifications built (late 17th cent.) by Vauban is a British memorial gate designed by Reginald Blomfield. Outside the town's walls are some 40 military cemeteries.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Benelux Political Geography