“Werninger’s Clearing” (a Rode is a clearing in the woods) was a small settlement that began developing into a regional center of trade in the 10th Century. A castle was built on Agnesberg Hill from 1110 to 1120. In 1229, the Counts of Wernigerode granted it the commercial rights which raised its status to a city. Much later in the 16th century, Wernigerode suffered from the social unrest caused all over Europe by the Reformation: monasteries and other important buildings were severely damaged.
The depopulation and chaos in Central Europe after the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) were a major factor in Wernigerode’s decline from a prosperous trading city in the 16th century to an unimportant town of craftsmen and farmers in the 18th century.
In 1806, Wernigerode became part of the newly created Kingdom of Westphalia following Napoleon’s reorganization of Europe. This brought more civil rights, but less independence from outside rule.
Today, Wernigerode is called the “colorful city”—and its well-preserved picturesque half-timbered houses and many other historical attractions are certainly worth seeing!