Today we want to take an extraordinary walk: we go to the Melatenfriedhof in Cologne, which is the largest cemetery in the cathedral city and one of the sights of Cologne ?! Why is a cemetery a sight? Well, read on ...
Location of the Melaten Cemetery
The cemetery is located on the large Aachener Strasse and is practically enclosed by the streets: Weinsbergstrasse, Oskar-Jäger Strasse, Melatengürtel, Piusstrasse and just the Aachener Strasse mentioned above. Braunsfeld and Lindenthal are the nearby districts. You can easily reach the cemetery by car and also very well by public transport from Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe (KVB). I would choose the way via Aachener Straße and that with the tram from the KVB. The stop is then "Melatenfriedhof".
Huge entrance gates
The large and massive entrance gates of the Melatenfriedhof are particularly striking. And on a tablet on one of these gates the following is written " What the earth gives, she desires again - and what was dust becomes dust - but the soul rose from heaven again - probably not robbing the deity of death - our tears fall on the hill - the beloved remnant covers - but the faith of gold-winged wings - carries us upwards, where there is no grave - more terrifies ". Wow, what dark words.
So we walk through the big iron gate and find our way in the cemetery. And that's not so easy, because it's really huge. We start right where the prominent and rich people of Cologne have found their final resting place. On the so-called "million avenue" . Among other things, there are graves of:
- Wilhelm Marx
- Willi Ostermann
- family Millowitsch (well-known Volkstheater family)
- Klaus Ulonska (former president of SC Fortuna Cologne)
- Dirk Bach (comedian)
- Ferdinand Franz Wallraf (Wallraf Museum)
- Farina (manufacturer Eau de Cologne)
Discovering these well-known names alone is quite interesting and confirms very simply: They are only human and at some point, we all find our peace in a cemetery.
Inspire old tombstones
The gravestones from the 19th and 20th centuries, which can also be found here, are particularly decorative and decorated. They mostly come from rich Cologne families and from Cologne personalities. Large family graves are decorated here with angels or snakes and other figures and, on the whole, look quite pompous and magnificent, even though we are here in a cemetery.
Here you can partly read the history of the individual as still or guess through the figures on the graves. Take the time to slowly understand the stories in peace. This is also a very important note: plan enough time for your tour of the Melatenfriedhof, this walk can take a few hours.
History of the cemetery
The Cologne Melatenfriedhof was first mentioned in a document in 1243 and was in the beginning as a reception center for lepers in the cathedral city. This Siechenhof was deliberately isolated and even had its own small infrastructure. For example, there was even a brewery (yes, we are in Cologne). There was even a separate attachment of agricultural products. As already mentioned above, the residents were totally isolated and are only allowed to leave the area with the permission of the administration. Incidentally, the name "Melaten" comes from the French word "malade" and this means "sick".
But the place has much more gruesome history to offer , because there were even witch burnings! Public executions were carried out there at the end of the Middle Ages. Almost 50 women of all ages died there. A short list of some names:
- Katharina Henot executed in 1627 as a witch
- Ludwig von Tetz in 1527 as a murderer wheeled on an iron wheel
- Peter Fliesteden
- Adolf Caltenbach
Creation of the cemetery
The council of the city of Cologne found it no longer sensible to bury the dead within the city walls and commissioned the art collector Ferdinand Franz Wallraf to build a new cemetery in the 18th century to plan. In 1810 the Melaten Cemetery was opened and it was inaugurated by the cathedral priest Michael Josep Dumont. In the early days of the cemetery, only Catholics should be buried there. After some time this regulation or this principle disappeared.
Numbers, numbers, numbers ...
There are more than 55,000 graves (!) that are spread over 435,000 square meters of cemetery area and that transform the cemetery into a huge area. Here you can actually go for long walks and enjoy the peace and quiet, because of course you won't find them that quickly in the cathedral city. If you take the walk on a beautiful autumn day, you will be amazed by the colors of the trees and the beautiful grave figures.
If you are interested in Cologne history and enjoy long walks, you've come to the right place! Just take one of the numerous tours. This tells you the right story for the right tombstone and you don't have to look up any books.
Address and card
Aachener Str., 50931 Cologne
Telephone: 0221 5707488