Nora received its charter in 1643. The government had requested the inhabitants of both Nora and the adjacent town Lindesberg to move together into a newly chartered city called Järle. However, the government proved unsuccessful, and instead granted both Nora and Lindesberg independent charters at that year.
Many wooden houses built in the 18th and 19th century have been spared by fires and demolition, making the town Nora one of Sweden's best preserved wooden towns. Eksjö and Hjo are two other examples, and they have together with Nora initiated a wooden-town development project. Also part of the old city structure are cobbled streets with small houses and shops by small windling street. "Så liten stad, så mycket smak" (Small town, much flavor/taste) Anna Maria Lenngren, Swedish author.
The first normal gauge railway in Sweden was opened to the public in 1856 between Nora and Ervalla. It is today a museum railway, worked by a preservation society.