Aarhus, European Capital of Culture 2017

Friday, 18 August 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, European Union, European Capital of Culture
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Aarhus Theatre © Martin Steggman/cc-by-sa-4.0

Aarhus Theatre © Martin Steggman/cc-by-sa-4.0

Aarhus is the second-largest city in Denmark and the seat of Aarhus municipality. It is located on the east coast of the Jutland peninsula, in the geographical centre of Denmark, 187 kilometres (116 mi) northwest of Copenhagen and 289 kilometres (180 mi) north of Hamburg, Germany. The inner urban area contains 269,000 inhabitants and the municipal population is 336,000. Aarhus is the central city in the East Jutland metropolitan area, which has a total population of 1.4 million. In 2017, Aarhus has been selected as European Capital of Culture along with Paphos in Cyprus.

The history of Aarhus began as a fortified Viking settlement founded in the 8th century and with the first written records stemming from the bishopric seated here from at least 948. The city was founded on the northern shores of a fjord at a natural harbour and the primary driver of growth was for centuries seaborne trade in agricultural products. Market town privileges were granted in 1441, but growth stagnated in the 17th century as the city suffered blockades and bombardments during the Swedish Wars. In the 19th century it was occupied twice by German troops during the Schleswig Wars but avoided destruction. As the industrial revolution took hold, the city grew to become the second-largest in the country by the 20th century. Today Aarhus is at the cultural and economic core of the region and the largest centre for trade, services and industry in Jutland.

Harbour, Custom House and Aarhus Church © Villy Fink Isaksen/cc-by-sa-3.0 ARoS Aarhus Art Museum © flickr.com - EHRENBERG Kommunikation/cc-by-sa-2.0 Aarhus Theatre © Martin Steggman/cc-by-sa-4.0 Old Town Museum © Zairon/cc-by-sa-3.0 Aarhus City Hall with landmark clock tower © Gardar Rurak/cc-by-sa-4.0 Marselisborg Palace in Mindeparken © Nils Jepsen/cc-by-sa-3.0
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ARoS Aarhus Art Museum © flickr.com - EHRENBERG Kommunikation/cc-by-sa-2.0
Aarhus has developed in stages, from the Viking age to modern times, all visible in the city today. Many architectural styles are represented in different parts of the city such as Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, National Romantic, Nordic classicism, Neoclassical, Empire and Functionalism. The city has grown up around the main transport hubs, the harbour and later the railway station and as a result, the oldest parts of the city are also the most central and busiest today. The streets Volden (The Rampart) and Graven (The Moat) testify to the defences of the initial Viking settlement and Allégaderingen in Midtbyen roughly follows the boundaries of that settlement. The street network in the inner city formed during the Middle Ages with narrow, curved streets and low, dense housing by the river and coast. Vesterport (Westward Gate) still bears the name of a medieval city gate and the narrow alleyways Posthussmøgen and Telefonsmøgen are remnants of toll stations from that time. The inner city has the oldest preserved houses, especially the Latin Quarter, with buildings dating back to the early 17th century in Mejlgade and Skolegade. Medieval merchants’ mansions with courtyards can be seen in Klostergade, Studsgade and Skolegade. The ARoS Art Museum, the Old Town Museum and Tivoli Friheden are among Denmark’s top tourist attractions. With a combined total of almost 1.4 million visitors they represent the driving force behind tourism but other venues such as Moesgård Museum and Kvindemuseet are also popular. The city’s extensive shopping facilities are also said to be a major attraction for tourists, as are festivals, especially NorthSide and SPOT.

Aarhus Cathedral (Århus Domkirke) in the centre of Aarhus, is the longest and tallest church in Denmark at 93 m (305 ft) and 96 m (315 ft) in length and height respectively. Originally built as a Romanesque basilica in the 13th century, it was rebuilt and enlarged as a Gothic cathedral in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Even though the cathedral stood finished around 1300, it took more than a century to build; the associated cathedral school of Aarhus Katedralskole was already founded in 1195 and ranks as the 44th oldest school in the world. Another important and historic church in the inner city, is the Church of our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke) also from the 13th century in Romanesque and Gothic style. It is smaller and less impressive, but it was the first cathedral of Aarhus and founded on an even older church constructed in 1060; the oldest stone church in Scandinavia. Parts of this former church were excavated in the 1950s and can now be experienced as a crypt beneath the nave of Vor Frue Kirke. Langelandsgade Kaserne in National Romantic style from 1889 is the oldest former military barracks left in the country; home to the university Department of Aesthetics and Communication since 1989. Marselisborg Palace (Marselisborg Slot), designed by Hack Kampmann in Neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles, was donated by the city to Prince Christian and Princess Alexandrine as a wedding present in 1898. The Aarhus Custom House (Toldkammeret) from 1898, is said to be Hack Kampmann’s finest work. Tivoli Friheden (Tivoli Freedom) opened in 1903 and has since been the largest amusement park in the city and a tourist attraction. Aarhus Theatre from 1916 in the Art Nouveau style is the largest provincial theatre in Denmark. The early buildings of Aarhus University, especially the main building completed in 1932, designed by Kay Fisker, Povl Stegmann and by C.F. Møller have gained an international reputation for their contribution to functionalist architecture. The City Hall (Aarhus Rådhus) from 1941 with an iconic 60 m (200 ft) tower clad in marble, was designed by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller in a modern Functionalist style.

Read more on Aarhus, Aarhus2017, Aarhus Tourism, Wikivoyage Aarhus and Wikipedia Aarhus (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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