The dreadful history of the beautiful Melaten cemetery
While travelling I always look for some activities off the beaten path. Visiting cemeteries is one of them. I find the cemeteries fascinating and peaceful places, especially in the autumn or the winter. Melaten cemetery (Melatenfriedhof) totally met my expectations.
History of Melaten cemetery
The Melaten cemetery is the central cemetery of Cologne. It is a beautiful park and is great for romantic walks. Of course if you are that kind of a person.
During my visit the weather was sunny, even hot for the autumn. Yellow leaves were covering the grounds and there were still flowers to be seen.
In the 12th century the ground of the today’s cemetery was a home for lepers. It was the largest hospice in Germany at that time. Today only the name of the cemetery reminds of that. The origin of its name comes from the French word for sickness “malade”.
In the Middle Ages the place became a public execution site. Many killers and criminals were hung or beheaded here.
The executions continued in the following centuries. The only difference was that people also started to burn witches on stakes here.
In the early 17th century during the witch-hunt over 30 women and girls were burned.
The last executed person in Melaten was the church robber Peter Eick.
Till 1829 they buried only Catholics in the cemetery. The Protestants were buried in the Geusen cemetery (Geusenfriedhof).
You can find the graves of many famous people here. The cemetery is the eternal resting place of the Farina family, among which is the creator of “Eau de Cologne”.
Address: Aachener Straße 204, 50931 Köln
Access: Metro station Melaten – line 1,7 or metro station Aachener Str./Gürtel – line 1,7,13
Summer (from 1 April to 30 September): 07:00 AM – 08:00 PM
Autumn (from 1 October to 1 November): 08:00 AM – 07:00 PM
Winter: 08:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Map of the cemetery