Poperinge, which is the centre of a hop producing region, is an old cloth making city. It is proud of possessing three beautiful Gothic churches, among them the church of Saint John.
This church was constructed according to a basilica plan (around 1295) with a wide transept and small side naves. The massive tower and its pear-shaped crown as well as the beautifully sculpted portal draw the eye.
When you enter the church, you can admire the statue of Saint John the Baptist, patron saint of the church, bracketed to the pillar in the middle between the double entrance doors. Numerous paintings show us the beheading of Saint John. Also worth a look are the very beautiful panels from the 18th century and a magnificent rood screen.
Stop for a moment in the left side nave in front of the statue of the Virgin dating from 1479. The tombstone in front of the altar tells us about the miracle that was performed that year. A child that was stillborn came out of its tomb alive. Every year, on the first Sunday in July, this miraculous event is commemorated in a Marian procession, the ‘ommegang’ of Poperinge.
For those people keen for details, items that must be seen are four small Baroque altars dating from 1670, the stalls from 1776, the cathedra from 1736 and the marble baptismal fonts from 1750-1800; plus a few beautiful tombstones and grave monuments dating from the 18th century.