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The inner urban area contains 269,022 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2017 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.

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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.

In 2017, Aarhus has been selected as European Capital of Culture along with Paphos in Cyprus.

With the Danish spelling reform of 1948, "Aa" was changed to "Å".

There are strong indications of a former royal residence from the Viking Age in Viby, a few kilometres south of the Aarhus city centre.

The growing influence of the Church during the Middle Ages gradually turned Aarhus, with its bishopric, into a prosperous religious centre.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.In 2010, the city council voted to change the name from "Århus" to "Aarhus" in order to strengthen the international profile of the city. Certain geographically affiliated names have been updated to reflect the name of the city, such as the Aarhus River, changed from "Århus Å" to "Aarhus Å".It is still grammatically correct to write geographical names with the letter Å and local councils are allowed to use the Aa spelling as an alternative.The charter is the first official recognition of the town as a regional power and is by some considered Aarhus' birth certificate.