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The Milaten Municipal Cemetery, located in the central part of Cologne in the Lindenthal district, is the largest in the city, and also a favorite place for walking, both among tourists and from the townspeople.
This place has been known since 1180 – at that time there was a site that was located quite far from the city. This territory housed a leper colony, where lepers were sent. This building was also called Maladene (French malade –"sick"), from this word comes the current name of the cemetery.
In XVI – In the 18th century, this site housed a drinking establishment, which was very popular with poor citizens. At the same time, the wasteland was a place of public executions – in the 16th and 17th centuries, a large number of townspeople who were suspected of heresy and witchcraft were executed here. After the Inquisition was abolished, Milaten continued to be a place of execution until the 18th century. The bodies of people after the execution were buried here.
In 1804, Napoleon issued a decree banning burials in the city for reasons of public hygiene. As a result, a site near the former leper colony was chosen for the construction of the city cemetery near the city boundaries. A key role in the reconstruction of Melaten was played by Ferdinand Franz Walraf, the former rector of the University of Cologne, who proposed to equip the necropolis like the Pere Lachaise cemetery located in Paris. modeled on a landscape park with a geometric network of paths and alleys.
At the beginning of the 19th century, a cemetery wall was built, the chapel of a leper colony dating from the 15th century was renovated. The opening of the cemetery took place in June 1810.
In the early years, only Catholics were allowed to be buried in the cemetery, for Jews and Protestants there were confessional cemeteries. For the first time the territory of Melaten was expanded in 1833. In the 19th century, during the industrialization, the urban population began to grow rapidly, which gave rise to the need for further expansion of the cemetery, and in the 20th century, the need to create new municipal cemeteries.
At the turn of the XIX – XX centuries on the territory of the cemetery were built several structures – memorial house (1881), two gatehouses (1901-1902), cemetery office (1889), public restroom (1896).
During the Second World War, all buildings exactly like the cemetery itself, seriously damaged. At the end of the war, part of the buildings was restored, and a new one was added to the old memorial hall. In 1952, the chapel of the leper colony took on a more simplified form during restoration work.
The cemetery contains many original and remarkable gravestones made in the styles of neoclassicism, neo-renaissance, neo-gothic and modern, some of them created in the 19th century by famous architects and sculptors. The Millionnaya Alley deserves special attention. – road crossing the necropolis from west to east. In the 19th century, along or near the alley, burials were carried out by the city nobility. Today, you can see the gravestones of bankers, manufacturers, scientists and publishers.
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Topic: Melaten cemetery in Germany, resort of Cologne.