Interesting facts of town history:

There are no written documents about the origins of the settlement. Recent research proves that there isn't - as Eduard Jacobs and Walther Grosse have assumed so far - an original connection with the Monastery of Corvey (Weser) and its abbot with the name of Warin. The town's name probably rather suggests a protected settlement in a cleared woodland.

First place of settlement was the Klint, where stood a flat-land fortress named Schnakenburg. In 1805, the remains of this fortress were demolished. The only house that is left from it is the Haus Gadenstedt (Oberpfarrkirchhof 12) from 1582. Back in the times of first settlement, the hilltop Klint was still covered with typical primeval forest, which had first do be cleared, hence the "-rode" on the town's name. "Roden" is the German word for clearing woodlands.

First documentary evidence of the town dates back to 1121, with a reference to the Count Adalbert zu Haimar, who came from the region near Hildesheim to settle here.
On April 17th 1229, the settlement was awarded Town Privileges after the example of Goslar. In 2004, Wernigerode celebrated its 775th anniversary of becoming a town.

Due to the influx of new inhabitants from the surrounding hamlets, a new settlement developed on the north rim of the old town. This town of farming citizens was later to be called Neustadt (new town). St. John' church (Johanniskirche) was built as a parish church in the last third of the 13. Century in Romanesque style.


From the late Middle Ages to modern age: After the male line of the Counts of Wernigerode became extinct in 1429, Wernigerode became the residence of the Counts of Stolberg, who then had the supremacy for centuries. In the Peasants War in 1525, several surrounding monasteries were pillaged and partly destroyed, particularly the monastery of Himmelpforten in today's suburb of Hasserode. Pillaging in the Thirty Years' War and devastation by fire brought great suffering for the local people.

In 1714, Count Christian Ernst zu Stolberg-Wernigerode was forced to accept via deed the supremacy of Brandenburg-Prussia over the County of Wernigerode.

From 1807 to 1813, Wernigerode was integrated into the town canton Wernigerode of the Kingdom of Westphalia, before it was assigned to the newly formed Prussian county of Osterwieck which belonged to the Prussian province of Saxony. Only when Count Henrich zu Stolberg-Wernigerode raised an objection against this in1825 did Wernigerode become the capital of its own county again, which belonged to the governorate of Magdeburg.


On March 29th, 1847 part of the town, above all the quarter Heideviertel, fell victim to a huge fire.

In the second half of the 19th Century, Wernigerode saw, besides tourism, an industrial development (such as mechanical engineering, tool making, electric motors, pharmaceutical products, chocolate, stationery, construction material), which lead to a substantial boom of this centre of tourism and business.

back