|Aachener Strasse 204|
Phone: (49) 221-4442
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
It is an approximately 8 minute ride on the tram from the Neumarkt which is near the pedestrian zone.
Tram 1 – Weiden West, get off at Melaten stop
Tram 7 – Aachener Str/Gürtel, get off at Melaten stop
There is a side entrance to the cemetery near the stop.
The main entrance and memory hall is at the corner of Piusstr and Woemsamstr.
Even before the inauguration of the cemetery on June 29, 1819, Melaten was a place of death. At the beginning of the 17th century, over 30 women were killed here during the witch hunt scare when it was a public square.
The name "Melaten" is based on the French term for sick, ‘malade". From the 12th century a home for lepers and a farm was located on the site which was outside the city gates. At the old cemetery chapel there is a sculpture to remind people of the lepers. With the defeat of leprosy in 1767, the buildings became an orphanage and workhouse until 1810.
In 1804 when Napoleon issued the "Décret sur les sépultures" which forbade the burial within city limits and churches, a new site had to be obtained for burials. The municipality bought land on the site of the former Leprosy site and the buildings. After long delays, the Melatenfriedhof was inaugurated in 1810 by Michael Joseph Dumont. The cemeteries within the city were closed, Cologne had a central cemetery. Initially only Catholics were allowed to be buried but in 1829 it was opened up to Protestants. Prior to that they were buried up in the old Geusen cemetery in Weyertal. In 1899 a section was opened to Jewish burials.
Melaten was conceived not only as place of death but one of life. Like Père Lachaise in Paris, it is in a park like setting for people to walk, look, enjoy fresh air, peace and to visit and keep awake the memory of their deceased
Art history lives on Melaten. Many of the monuments were created by sculptors of the time and unlike in a Museum, they are open, accessible and in the original context
Melaten follows the German tradition of reusing grave sites. One leases their space for a period of time and if the lease is not renewed, it is reused. Many of the old monuments have been designated historical by the city and since 1981 are open for sponsorship. The sponsor commissions its restoration and maintenance and for this, they are allowed to be interred in the lot when their time comes.