Pay your respects to missing World War I heroes, the fallen soldiers whose bodies were never recovered from the battlefields of Ypres.
The Menin Gate Memorial is one of four shrines in Ypres to the missing dead in Belgian Flanders during World War I. The large brick structure bears the names of more than 54,000 servicemen and women who lost their lives fighting for the Commonwealth Forces.
The impressive gate was designed by architect Sir Reginald Blomfield and was unveiled in 1927. Its style is simple and elegant, a tribute to the fallen rather than a triumphant memorial of war.
Marvel at the beauty of the majestic redbrick monument, then wander through one of the arches and into the Hall of Memory. Many of the names of the fallen are inscribed in Portland Stone panels on the hall’s inside walls. Occasionally, a name will be removed from the list when remains are discovered in nearby fields, identified and given a proper burial.
At the western entrance to the memorial, see the sculpted sarcophagus with a flag and wreath. During the war, troops passed through this location on their way to the battlefields. At the eastern entrance is a sculpture of a lion looking out to where the battlefields were located. There are several inscriptions to read at the memorial, including some by writer and poet Rudyard Kipling.
Attend the Last Post ceremony, which is held every evening at the gate. The observance has taken place every day since 1928, except during the period of German occupation in World War II. The road through the gate is closed and a trumpet call is sounded. This is followed by a minute’s silence.
The Menin Gate Memorial is just next to the Kasteelgracht moat in the heart of Ypres. The gate marks the eastern point of the city center and can easily be reached on foot from other attractions, such as the Cloth Hall and St. Martin’s Cathedral. After your visit, go to the nearby monument to the fallen Gurkhas and Indian soldiers.