The medieval town of Ypres (nowadays called by its Flemish name Ieper) was located at the centre of the WW1 battlefields of the Ypres Salient. Ypres was totally razed to the ground during four years of fighting and underwent reconstruction during the 1920s and 1930s. The magnificent Lakenhalle (Cloth Hall) was partially rebuilt in the 1930s and now contains a superb WW1 museum. Interestingly, when St. Martin's Cathedral was rebuilt from its ruins the shape of the spire was changed from a square tower.
From October 1914 British and Commonwealth troops began to march through the Meenenpoorte gateway, known to the British Army as The Menin Gate, from the city of Ypres onto The Menin Road and into the battlefields of the Ypres Salient. For the next four years soldiers from practically every British and Commonwealth regiment passed through this gateway. Many thousands of soldiers in the British Army lost their lives fighting in the Ypres Salient. The remains of over 90,000 of them have never been found or identified. They are, therefore, buried somewhere in the Ypres Salient with no known grave.
Hill 62, known to the British Army as Sanctuary Wood, contains original British trenches in a small section of the wood and have been preserved as they were found after the war. In the 1980s a tunnel was discovered.
Tyne Cot Cemetery is the resting place of nearly 12,000 soldiers of the Commonwealth Forces, the largest number of burials of any Commonwealth cemetery of either world war. The soldiers were buried at Tyne Cot over a four year period, from October 1914 to September 1918. It first came into being in October 1917 when one of several German blockhouses on the Passchendaele Ridge was captured by the British Army and used as an Advanced Dressing Station. As a result there were some 350 burials in the vicinity of the Dressing Station between then and the end of March 1918. The original burials are in a group of unevenly spaced graves close to the Cross of Sacrifice in the subsequently expanded cemetery site. The Cross of Sacrifice was built on the position of the German blockhouse. The original German bunkers held a commanding view over the ground looking towards the Allied front line and Ypres.