The foundation of the town Wernigerode dates back to approximately the 9th century. Owing to its situation quite close to two trade routes over the Harz Mountains, the initially tiny village soon provided ideal conditions for settlement of trade and small crafts. The village developed a market place, and grew considerably, so much so that in April 1229 Wernigerode was awarded town privileges.
As a town Wernigerode continued to thrive, and the Town Hall was built in the 16th century, though its façade dates back to 1498. Wernigerode was absorbed into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1815. The town enjoyed another boost in the later 19th century, as its location in the beautiful Harz region ensured it became a popular tourist destination.
Wernigerode survived the Second World War largely intact, and became part of East Germany. However, it was one of the very few towns in the East that developed a prosperous economy. This was mainly because it was the only place in the Harz where Westerners were ever encouraged to stay. With reunification in 1990, Wernigerode maintained its reputation as a beautiful resort town, popular with visitors all year round.