Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark. However, despite being the second largest city, it is quite easy to cover it on foot just in 2 days. Basically, Aarhus is a perfect weekend gateway from Copenhagen or Amsterdam. I visited Aarhus while moving from Amsterdam to Copenhagen and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise during my Europe Backpacking Trip.
Not much is written about Aarhus as compared to Copenhagen despite it being a wonderful destination. The best part about Aarhus is that it does not keep you enclosed among the grand buildings or ultra-modern fancies. It offers you a little 19th-century Danish town, a vast green field and a never-ending coast. You can read more on ‘The Best Things to do in Aarhus’ here. It would surely be interesting to know certain interesting facts about Aarhus.
The Happiest City
Aarhus was considerably awarded the ‘Happiest City’ owing to the city’s management and lifestyle. I guess their proximity to nature without detaching from the modern world. Even the art and the artists are valued the most in Aarhus. These Danish people love peace and their idea of Happiness is probably to learn, relax and give back to nature. The city is all set to be self-dependent in terms of energy by 2030. They will just be relying on renewable sources of energy.
The Name Aarhus
The city was known as ‘Århus’ or ‘Åros’ in the ancient time which literally meant ‘The Mouth of the River’. ‘å’ in literal terms means a river and ’oss’ is the mouth.
The modern name Aarhus is actually an agreeable translation due to the original letter’s difficulty in typing. The present-day key-board does not have the unique Danish alphabets like ‘å’ and ‘Ø’. And thus, its pronunciation ‘aa’ is used for its feasibility.
A Cyclist Mayor of Aarhus
While moving around the main shopping street in Aarhus, it is very common to stumble upon a statue of a lean yet strong man standing with his bicycle. It was really surprising for me to know that he was the city’s most popular Mayor. Bernhardt Jensen was a mayor of Aarhus from 1958 to 1971. He loved cycling the most and disliked motorcars. In fact, he traversed around the city and for all official works on his bicycle. He strongly opposed the plan of demolishing some old houses of Aarhus to make to roads broader for the cars. And, thanks to him, Aarhus could preserve the old quarters in the city centre. A statue of him was then erected in 2010 beside the bridge where he stands with his bicycle.
Aarhus and its relation with the Vikings’ Settlements
The history has always mentioned the Vikings’ presence almost everywhere but hardly anything is written about their origin. My curiosity led me to research more on it and I found out the recently excavated city of Vikings in Aarhus which is the oldest settlement in Denmark dating back to 770 AD. The Vikings plundered Aarhus and established one of their foremost settlements in Aarhus. The excavations revealed a longhouse, glass pearl, fire pit and other items dating back to this time. The regular excavations unearth one or the other parts of the city ranging from streets, workshops to wells.
A Fortress City of the Vikings
The communities were originally farmers and sailors. ‘Aros’ was a bustling commercial harbour and the most suitable land for settlement where the river met the bay. The harbour paved a way for the Vikings to venture around the world. Surprisingly, the Vikings, who are famous for their loots all over, were quite concerned about their safety and privacy. The excavation suggests the ancient city was surrounded by a sturdy wall. It is commonly known as the ‘ Viking Ring Fortress’.
Note: This post is written in Collaboration with ‘Visit Aarhus‘. However, the exploration was done independently and the views and opinions are of my own. I thank Aarhus Tourism for all the useful literature and DOKKK 1 Library to help me find some resources for the blog.
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