You all know it, you all use it, you all like it: Cologne (Eau de Cologne, "Kölnisch Wasser") has become a generic term all over the world. Cologne is the city, where it all began in 1709. The Farina fragrance museum situated opposite the Town Hall brings to life three centuries of fragrance and cultural history.
The Italian perfumer, John Maria Farina (Giovanni Maria Farina 1685 – 1766), made Cologne world-famous by naming his new fragrance Eau de Cologne in honour of his new hometown. The people of the city honoured their celebrated citizen by placing a statue of him on the Town Hall, where it can still be seen today.
Beginning with the Rococo period, the fragrance museum brings to life three centuries of fragrance and cultural history. Art objects, portraits and furniture bear witness to the world-wide connections of the Farina perfume dynasty.
You will be lead past an unbelieveable amount of fakes and imitations that have sprung up over the past two hundred years. To the music of Carlo Farina (d. 1640), display cases of blown-glass perfume bottles and flacons that date from antiquity to the modern era will be presented to you.
In the fragrance chamber, the world of the parfumeur is brought to life. Visitors can sample at length the most diverse essences, if so desired. Detailed explanations - about the extraction of essences or the production technique of Enfleurage, for example - give a vivid impression of a parfumeur's creations, creativity and indispensable talent. The museum tour then follows a staircase down into the original cellar vaults, which is where perfumes were produced 300 years ago. A cedar-wood barrel that dates back to the business's beginnings has endured the wear of time. A replica of a distillation apparatus, like the one used by Johann Maria Farina in the 18th century, exemplifies the artistry of distillation. In excerpts, pictures illustrate the development of perfume production throughout three centuries.
Another famous Cologne brand is "4711". The New Gothic head office of the "Eau de Cologne" manufacturer with a carillon that chimes every hour is situated opposite the opera house. The number "4711" refers to the house-numbering system adopted by the French occupying power in 1795 whereall private houses were numbered sequentially. (Glockengasse).