Denmark’s Third Oldest City: Aarhus, a Viking Trading Town Near the Sea…

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From the Viking trading town near the sea, to the world’s smallest metropolis, Aarhus, or Aros as the Vikings called the city, lies along the river Aros, which, in the old days, was the highway into the hinterland. Aarhus is Denmark’s third oldest city after Ribe and Hedeby. Late in the 8th century, the ancient trading center lay on the north side of the Aros river, making the city excellent for trading. It was easy for the Vikings to get to Aros by sea, and they could sail many miles into the hinterland using the inland river system, in their slim Viking Longships.

The town was fortified with a defense system around the year 934, possibly on the initiative of King Gorm the Old, the first King of Denmark. The defence system was built and enhanced by his son Harald Bluetooth. The Vikings earned their living with trade and crafts, and the many excavations in the city since then, have given a detailed insight into their daily lives, more than 1,000 years ago.

Aarhus lies facing the sea, and is situated between the two forests, “Risskov” and Marselisborg forest. The royal Danish family have their private residence at Marselisborg Castle, beautifully situated with view over Aarhus bay. “Mindeparken” (Park of Remembrance) is a monument for the soldiers that fell during “The Great War” of 1914-18. Marselisborg Castle is a gift from Aarhus City to the royal family.

The Danish Queen comes to town every Christmas with all her children and grandchildren, and Christmas really comes to town. You can nearly imagine the famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, sitting with his candle and writing children’s stories about Christmas. Hans Christian Andersen doesn’t actually come from Aarhus, but it’s a nice story anyway.

Aarhus City has a lot to offer, from small cosy restaurants scattered across the city, to an extensive cultural scene and business life, which puts all the experiences into perspective. The city has Scandinavia’s largest container port, and giant container ships are often moored in Aarhus harbour, with their steel containers filled with merchandise from faraway countries. However, we don’t sail the goods up along the Aarhus river in longships, any longer.

Attractions such as “The Old City” (Den Gamle By) and the large art museum “AROS” draw many tourists to the capital of Jutland each year. If you like shopping, it’s only your wallet, and packing space on your bike, that set the limits.

Aarhus river has been covered over for many years, but now the river has come into view again, and has become an architectural and cultural attraction. Along the river in the city center, you will find a multitude of cafes and restaurants, and you can definitely spend some nice hours there. If you like music and dance, then take a walk around town, and find the right venue; you will find both new Danish music and international artists on the program. You have to experience the nightlife in the world’s smallest metropolis, as part of your great motorcycle adventure in Aarhus.

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