; officially spelled Århus from 1948 until 31 December 2010) is the second-largest city in Denmark and the seat of Aarhus municipality.
In 1441, Christopher III issued the oldest known charter granting market town status although similar privileges may have existed as far back as the 12th century.In 1657, octroi was imposed in larger Danish cities which changed the layout and face of Aarhus over the following decades.Wooden city walls were erected to prevent smuggling, with gates and toll booths on the major thoroughfares, Mejlgade and Studsgade.The city gates funnelled most traffic through a few streets where merchant quarters were built.In the 17th century, Aarhus entered a period of recession as it suffered blockades and bombardments during the Swedish wars and trade was dampened by the preferential treatment of the capital by the state.
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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.The charter is the first official recognition of the town as a regional power and is by some considered Aarhus' birth certificate.The official and religious status spurred growth so in 1477 the defensive earthen ramparts, ringing the town since the Viking age, were abandoned to accommodate expansion.Parts of the ramparts are still in existence today and can be experienced as steep slopes at the riverside and they have also survived in some place names of the inner city, including the streets of Volden (The Rampart) and Graven (The Moat).
Aarhus grew to become one of the largest cities in the country by the early 16th century.
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.
Some Danish cities resisted the new spelling of their names, notably Aalborg and Aabenraa.
Århus city council explicitly embraced the new spelling, as it was thought to enhance an image of progressiveness.