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By imperial order, a "decree on burials" was issued for the city of Cologne during the French period in 1804. According to this decree, burials within the medieval city were prohibited. Furthermore, the right of burial was taken away from the Catholic Church and handed over to the civil community. Cologne's first central cemetery was established on the former site of the old "Leprosenheim", which was called "Maladen" in Cologne. The cemetery name "Melaten" developed from this.