Wednesday, December 17, 2008

AARHUS [ôr’hōōs]

Second-largest city of Denmark, centrally located on the east coast of Jutland. It derives its name from Old Norse ar os ("river mouth"), referring to the Aarhus River, which bisects the city. A major transportation center, its deepwater port is exceeded only by that of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, in the volume of tonnage handled. It also ranks second to the capital in industrial output and employment. Among its leading industries are the refining of vegetable oils for margarine and soap; the manufacture of machinery, including locomotives and refrigeration equipment; and brewing. The city is also a regional curtural center, boasting several museums, theaters, and concert halls. It has several institutions of higher learning, chief among which is the University of Aarhus (founded 1928).

Aarhus is one of the oldest cities in Denmark, having been made an episcopal see in 948. Its early annals consist largely of its history as a religious center, and the city's oldest existing structure is the Church of Our Lady (built c. 1100). The city also has a catheral, which was begun in 1201 and largely completed during the 14th century. Following the reformation the city stagnated for a time, but it rresumed its growth, however, resulted from the improvement of communications and the beginnings of industry in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Aarhus is the site of a distinctive open-air museum known as Den Gamle By ("The Old Town"). Some 50 buildings, many of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, have been assembled there from all parts of Denmark to provide a glimpse into the country's cultural history and handicrafts. Another landmark is the ultramodern Town Hall, whose 200 ft (61 m) marble tower offres a splendid view. The city is plesantly framed by rolling, morainic hills anf wooded groves and has several excellent sandy beaches on Aarhus Bay.


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