History and culture
War history is not the region’s only asset: Its medieval past is also quite impressive. During the 13th century, the Flanders Fields region had blossomed tremendously thanks to the presence of a prosperous cloth industry. At that time, Poperinge seemed to be one of the most fierce competitors of Ypres, which served as the cloth capital of the world at that time. The Cloth Hall in Ypres is still one of the biggest gothic-style buildings built by the medieval bourgeoisie.
When the cloth industry declined in the 16th century, the main activity in Poperinge was shifted towards the cultivation of hops. Since then, the city has been known as the City of Hops.
Furthermore, the different churches and cathedrals in the area, such as the ‘Sint-Janskerk’, the ‘Sint-Bertinuskerk’ and the ‘Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk’ in Poperinge and the ‘Sint-Maartenskathedraal’ in Ypres, prove the affluence and prosperity of that time and are also definitely worth a visit.