The dreadful history of the beautiful Melaten cemetery

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.

autumn leaves

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.

cemetery angel statue

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.

cemetery angel statue

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”.

statue of death

Useful information
Address: Aachener Straße 204, 50931 Köln
Access: Metro station Melaten – line 1,7 or  metro station Aachener Str./Gürtel – line 1,7,13
Opening hours:
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
Admission: Free
Map of the cemetery

Have you visited the Melaten cemetery?

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About the author

Avatar Milena Yordanova
I'm a travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places and cultures. I want to show you how easy it is to organize your vacation all by yourself.

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