Melaten cemetery

the Melaten cemetery is the central cemetery of Cologne and is in the quarter Lindenthal. The name „Melaten “was derived ill from the French word formalade “. The Leprosenheim standing originally there carried the name Maladen. It is called south limited by the Aachener road, to times of the French crew „Chaussée d'Aix la Chapelle “, in the east by the Piusstrasse, west places the Oskar hunter road and the Melatengürtel the delimitation and in the north the wine mountain route.

Grave chapel at the artery; Ruhestätte of Sophia Czory, an outstanding woman from Romakreisen

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the cemetery is rasterförmig arranged. Two arteries lead from the Aachener road northward. These are crossed by the east west axle (million-avenue “). Between them the corridors and fields lie. It consists today of the old person of honour fields cemetery, a private, the public not accessible Jewish cemetery and the actual Melaten cemetery.

During the old main entrance (gate II) at the Aachener road from the year 1810 the inscription is „Funeribus Agrippiniensium Sacer Locus “over the gate elbow (for the corpses of Cologne sanctified place). Further inscriptions laterally the gate read: „Have in Beatius Aevum Seposta Seges “(greeting you, on better future sown seed) and „Transi Non Sine Votis Mox Noster “(go not past without pious prayers, you, soon the Unsrige).

1874 and 1887 were established east and west of the gate II of two further entrances (gate I and gate III) and to 1957 the new main entrance to the Piusstrasse. The cemetery is accessible also over several side entrances.



Melaten was the largest Leprosenheim in the Middle Ages. The first delivered source means that the Leprosenanstalt before the Stadtmauern of Cologne developed in the year 1180. As from documentary mentions more differently Northwestern European cities is documented, one assumes Melaten developed in former times. Except Melaten there were three further Siechenhäuser in Cologne. One was above the Bayenturms, a further at the Judenbüchel („at the dead Jew “- in Kölsch „Dude Jüdd “), third in Riehl. As it was usual at that time, the Leprosenanstalten was built at animated arterial roads and at river courses before the Stadtmauern.

On property were the accommodations for the patients and for the farm servants and farmhands, a chapel, a pub and a small cemetery for the deceased patients. By donations of Cologne citizens, donations and wills the Leproserie very wealthy and had several Ländereien and houses in Cologne and environment, so also over the neighbouring yard Melaten, in the vernacular also „Rabenstein “called.

Melaten took up also foreign gotten sick ones contrary to other institutes. In order to leave the 16 to 24 leprosy patient was accommodated and forbidden to them there strictly, the area. The holidays formed only exception, at which one permitted to them to go and around alms ask into company of a clip farmhand into the city. The patients were stopped remarkable clothes, consisting of knee trousers, a Joppe, a Siechenmantel, a large hat and white gloves to tighten and with one rattle in the hand the Cologne citizens on itself to make attentive.

By falsified Siechenbriefe, with which employees of the Leprosie earned themselves a Zubrot, offered the home unite Unterschlupf, which were not gotten sick with leprosy.

When leprosy was to a large extent defeated in Europe, the asylum closed in the year 1767. The income was used 1766 renamed to the establishment of a breed and a work house in the election lane, later in orphanage lane, which were referred 1801 by Waisenkindern.

Melaten as execution place

in the Middle Ages was beside the yard Melaten, one of the public execution places of the city Cologne. The condemned ones were brought on a so-calledarm CSU the truck “, which was placed of the Leprosenanstalt, after Melaten. To 28. September-anneal 1529 here two Protestanten, Peter Fliesteden and Adolf Clarenbach, because of its faith in Luther's theories were burned. At the beginning 17. Century in the illusion of witch pursuits over 30 women and girls, most well-known victim were Katharina Henot were killed. Only to 13. July 1797 was executed with the church robber Peter Eick last humans on Melaten. Its death at the Galgen found many spectators.

To 27. March 1979 was furnished to the memory of Adolf Clarenbach and Peter Fliesteden Gedenkstein in the proximity of the main entrance of the Piusstrasse.

Monument for the pleasures in the French-German war of 1870/71; behind it victim of war and despotism [
work on] is appropriate

for Melaten under French crew

with the French crew 1794 changed for the Cologners beside vielem different one also the funeral nature. Because to 12. June 1804 issued to Napoleon „the Décret sur les sépultures “, which forbade the funeral in cities, villages and closed buildings for frightening the Cologners. Past the time of the funeral in churches and on the Kirchhof. The proximity to the altar meant proximity to God, in addition, a high position in the social hierarchy. This tradition found an end to favour more pragmatically , above all hygenic considerations. The impact was given by the decree to the Melaten cemetery.

emergence of the Melatenfriedhofes

the city administration bought a property on the area of the former Leprosenasyls and let most buildings tear off. The chapel of the Leprosenheimes was integrated into the cemetery. For the organization of the cemetery Ferdinand Franz Wallraf could be won, which Paris cemetery Père Lachaise took itself that to the model. After long delays became to 29. June 1810 the Melatenfriedhof by the cathedral minister Michael Joseph Dumont inaugurated. The cemeteries within the city were closed, Cologne had a central cemetery.

Officially the cemetery was called „God field of the city Cologne “. This was first not yet opened for all citizens: until 1829 could be bestattet only catholics there. The Protestanten were buried up to then on the old Gueux cemetery in the Weyertal before the Stadtmauern. Also the Jewish fellow citizens stayed away from Melaten for a long time. They were likewise bestattet up to the plant of the Jewish cemetery 1903 in Deutz before the Stadtmauern.

Despite several extensions with the time available space was exhausted. For the discharge of Melaten 1896 the north cemetery was opened, some years later the south cemetery and 1917 the west cemetery.

Simple gravestone for Ferdinand Franz Wallraf and Johann Heinrich smelling physician

Melaten and the wars

Melaten had to bear several substantial destruction in the course of history. The impressive tomb for Ferdinand Franz Wallraf and Johann Heinrich smelling physician was destroyed in the Second World War. Today a simple gravestone reminds of the two benefactors. The former chapel of the Leprosenheimes repaired of Wallraf and 1850 by Vincenz Statz 1942 one destroyed. It was simplified again established 1952.

the Melatenfriedhof today

in the year 1980 the Melatenfriedhof placed under monument protection is today also an interesting trip goal. Particularly because of the many prominent ones, which are bestattet here, as also because of the interesting grave marks and the park-similar character of the plant. The Melatenfriedhof is not competition for e.g. that Hamburg cemetery Ohlsdorf or the rich cemetery culture in cities such as Berlin or Munich. But it is beside Cologne historical books also an ecological niche in the middle in a large city.

The designations of the fields, are for some visitors entangling corridors and ways, since they were not consistently kept. The Feldsteine are often difficult to decipher. That puts with repeated attendance of the cemetery.

On the weekends guidance are offered by the cemetery. In the night or the late evening hours animal friends come into the benefit of exploring the animal world on the Melaten. For older fellow citizens, who do not think themselves the attendance capable of to the graves of their members any longer, there is a free driving service, that it up to the graves and/or. as near as possible drives.

Melaten and the Karneval

Melaten is not only a place of the mourning, but also the sense of glad. The cemetery accommodates some sizes of the Cologne Karnevals, for example Willi Ostermann. During the fifth season the cemetery included into the Narretei. A guidance leads across the cemetery to well-known Karnevalistengräbern and tells alive the history of the dead ones.

sponsorship system

the scythe man

the imported sponsorship system lively of the city conservatoires Hiltrud Kier in the year 1981 (in the meantime adapted by many cities), provides for the restoration and the receipt of many historical grave marks. The godfather selects itself a monument-protected tomb, whose rights to use ran off, and is responsible for the receipt and the restoration. As return the godfather a Anwartsrecht gets on the grave place. Only if the godfather is buried there or to bury starts to fall use fees. With some gravestones the names before buried ones of the there are engraved on the back of the gravestone. Many historical grave marks were already received by this simple system.

A well-known sponsorship grave is the scythe man for Johann, erschaffene of the sculptor August ski man, garbage master. In the right hand it holds a Sanduhr and formerly in the left hand a scythe. When this was misplaced it and through whom, is not exactly clarified. The godfathers, a stone-cutter family, let its small son Martin Steinnus, which died with a car accident bury there. They decorated the grave place with a frog, following the pointed name „frog flax “.

Flora and fauna


of beginning the cemetery was only meagerly bepflanzt. That changed 1826 by the garden architect Maximilian Friedrich Weyhe. Its planting plan was only partly converted from cost reasons. The arteries and the east west axle for the most expensive graves were loosened light tree avenues up by high, consisting of plane trees (antique death trees or mourning trees), the side ways by medium high lime trees and rose sticks. Later were added in the course of the extensions and in the simple burial places among other things Thujaalleen, maple, Birken, mourning elm trees and Lebensbäume, Japanese Zierkir and Catalpen. Some corridors are framed of hedges.



also the animal world is strongly represented. Over 40 kinds of bird live and breed on Melaten. In furnished fodder places and at the water places one can see Grünfinke, Blaumeisen, woodpeckers, blackbirds, stars or Dohlen, robins and Dompfaffe. Also collar and Alexandersittiche, whose ancestor probably escaped from zoo actions or from zoos, adapted (as in many Cologne green belts) to the dominant conditions. Bats, squirrels, foxes and wild ores cats round the animal spectrum off.

prominent ones on Melaten (in parentheses the indication of corridor)

gravestone for Arno fist
gravestone for Wolfgang Anheisser
gravestone for Theo Burauen

meanings: HWG = eastern artery; wHWG = western artery; MA = east west axle, mentioned „million-avenue “, Lit. (Littera = letter)


  • Josef abbott and Wolfgang Vomm: The Cologne cemetery Melaten,1986 - ISBN 3774301824
  • Josef abbott, Johann Ralf of leg and Celia body Leupold: Cemetery Melaten: Cologne graves and history . Cologne 1997, Greven publishing house - ISBN 3774303053
  • Hilde Cornelius and Cornelia Geiecke: Alive past: Artist, works of art, Cologners on the cemetery Melaten. ISBN 3929769433
  • Ayhan Demirci: Melaten: Myth and legends. 1996 - ISBN 3879094799
  • Wolfgang Oelsner: A guidance by the Cologne Karneval on the cemetery Melaten. 1998 2. Edition - ISBN 3980638405
  • Ilona Priebe: Cemetery Melaten to foot. 2004 - ISBN 3761618069
  • Peter Guckel: The bird with the stone. A tomb on the Melatenfriedhof to Cologne, 2005 - ISBN 3934233031
  • Wolfgang Stöcker: The last areas. Dying and Bestatttungskultur in the Rhine country since late 18. Century, 2006 - ISBN 3412291056; with text and picture contributions to the Melatenfriedhof

Web on the left of

Commons: Melaten cemetery - pictures, videos and/or audio files

coordinates: 50° 56 ' 22 " N, 06° 55 ' 09 " O


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