By the time of the Armistice, Ypres was already a legend throughout the British Empire. Five battles had been fought around the city which had turned it, and its surrounding hinterland, into a devastated wasteland. As soon as the war ended, visitors began to arrive. Some wanted to find out where loved ones had fought and died, while others wanted to see something of the reality of the battlefields for themselves. At the same time, the local people began to recreate their pre-war lives and communities as well as service the needs of visitors. In turn, this stirred up the potential for dispute as to who truly owned Ypres and how far reconstruction should be allowed to obliterate the landscape of the war.