Welcome to Aarhus
Aarhus is beautifully situated in typical East Jutland countryside, in a green valley with beaches and woods within easy reach.
Rarely have people shown such a sense of appreciation of Danish landscape as the vikings who chose Aarhus for their first settlement.The original town formed round the mouth of the river: AROS (“river mouth” in Old Nordic), the vikings building a harbour, a church and dwellings.
In around 948 A.D. a bishopric was established in Aarhus, the see becoming permanent in 1060. The fact that this town became the third bishopric in Jutland tells us something about its status as a trading centre.
During the Viking Age, low pit houses lay huddled on the spit between the river and the bay. The whole area was surrounded by a stockade and defensive ditch, and the dock was right up at what is now Immervad.
The foundation stone of the Cathedral was laid in 1201, and at about the same time the West Wall was breached and a gate built on the site now known as Borgporten.The quays were gradually extended outward towards the bay. Houses were erected outside the walls with new streets and roads.
Stagnation set in from about A.D. 1300. Wars swept the country, as did the Black Death, which practically emptied Aarhus. It seems that the city did not get moving again until about 1500. The whole aspect of the city changed during the 16th century, many beautiful buildings from that era having survived to today, such as the Mayor’s Residence, built in 1597, since reerected in “The Old Town” - an open-air museum.
Growth and development really accelerated about the middle of the 19th century. Extension work on the harbour commenced in 1847, and was completed in 1861. That was a very fortunate juncture, because the railway to the North was opened the following year. Aarhus thus became a vital rail and maritime trading centre, the harbour evolving into the second biggest in the country, as well as the biggest employer in Aarhus.
Aarhus is now the second largest city in Denmark, with a population of 300,000, an expanding business community, the Scandinavian Congress Centre, a University and institutions of higher education with more than 20.000 students, all of which contribute to its cultural life. Attractive restaurants and cafés, fascinating shopping centres, active, interesting theatres and museums, the Concert Hall, the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Opera, - all part of the vast range of cultural entertainment. Not to forget the city’s superb setting overlooking the bay, the distant hills, and with woodlands a mere step away. Close to the city centre the summer residence of Queen Margrethe II lies overlooking the bay. The park of the palace is always open to the public when the royal family is not in residence.
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