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Wernigerode is a much visited half-timbered town on the northern edge of the Harz, which sees itself as the "key to the Harz". It is located on the German Half-timbered Route and the Romanesque Route. Since Hermann Löns, Wernigerode has been nicknamed "The colorful city on the Harz".

The city is also ideal as a starting point for various trips to the Harz Mountains, including the Brocken.



Wernigerode Castle



As the name of the town shows, Wernigerode was created as a clearing settlement. Wernigerode is mentioned for the first time in 1121 as the seat of the medieval county of Wernigerode with Count Adalbert zu Haimar (near Hildesheim). Wernigerode held the seat until the death of Count Heinrich von Wernigerode in 1429, with whom the male line of the sex died out. Around 1200 Wernigerode received the right to mint, on April 17, 1229 city rights. The city has been a member of the Hanseatic League since 1267. The old town center was in the area of ​​the Klint southwest of the town hall. Around 1270, the new town was formed on the northern edge of the old town by influx. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Wernigerode flourished through the trade in cloth, beer and brandy. Plague epidemics in the 16th century and the devastation of the Thirty Years' War led to the decline of the city.

From 1645 to 1807 Wernigerode was the seat of the County of Stolberg-Wernigerode. At the end of the 18th century there was a renewed economic boom in the city, thanks to the tanning of leather and the manufacture of fabric and linen. Since 1815 Wernigerode belonged to the Prussian province of Saxony.

During the industrial revolution in the middle of the 19th century, machine, tool making, wood and food companies settled here. In 1872 and 1884, Wernigerode was connected to the railway network to Halberstadt and Ilsenburg, and the most famous brewery in the Harz, the Hasseröder Brewery, was founded. In the second half of the 19th century, tourism was another economic mainstay. The Harzquer and Brocken Railway was laid out in 1896–1899.

In a very entertaining newspaper report, the nature and homeland poet Hermann Löns (1866–1914) reported in 1909 on the city in which he had stayed two years earlier:

“All cities up the Harz and down the Harz have their treasures and valuables; but none is as rich and colorful as Wernigerode.
Everything your heart desires is there: fun life and dreamy silence, urban elegance and village simplicity, flood of tourism and established peculiarities, new construction and old architecture; it is the city of colorful contrasts that have merged into an atmospheric uniformity. "
The characterization as a "colorful city" has been used by the Wernigerode tourist offices for advertising since 1911.

At the end of the Second World War, the city surrendered to the US troops without a fight and was thus largely spared from war damage. After the Second World War, Wernigerode belonged to the state of Saxony-Anhalt. Today around 35,000 people live in the city.