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The city celebrated its thousandth anniversary in 1988, commemorating the first mention of the town's name in a letter dated 18 March 988 from the German Emperor Otto III which granted rights to Odense and neighbouring settlements.
The territory, previously part of the vast Archbishopric of Hamburg, was created a Catholic diocese in 988.
The University of Southern Denmark was established in 1966.
In the present day, Odense remains the commercial hub of Funen, and has a notable shopping district with a diversity of stores.
The city gates were demolished in 1851 and soon afterwards development extended to the area south of the river.
Glove production, which had begun in the 18th century, developed into one of the most important industries while the harbour facilities were further expanded.
Several major industries are located in the city including the Albani Brewery and GASA, Denmark's major dealer in vegetables, fruits and flowers.
The city is home to Odense Palace, erected by King Frederik IV who died there in 1730, the Odense Theatre, the Odense Symphony Orchestra, and the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, situated in the house that was the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. Odense is served by Hans Christian Andersen Airport and Odense station, which lies on the line between Copenhagen and the Jutland peninsula.
Separate areas of the city were devoted to increased industrial and residential expansion, Odense's most famous landmark was Odinstårnet (The Odin Tower) constructed in 1935, as the second-tallest tower in Europe, only surpassed by the Eiffel Tower with its 177 meters.
In sports, Odense has a number of football clubs including OB, BM, B1909, and B1913, the Odense Bulldogs professional ice hockey team, and the city also hosts the H. The earliest community was centred on the higher ground between the Odense River to the south and Naesbyhoved Lake (now dry) to the north.
Nonnebakken, one of Denmark's former Viking ring fortresses, lay to the south of the river.
The local nobility also participated in the city's development by building residences where they spent the winter months.
But the city's prosperity came to an abrupt end in the late 1650s heavy taxes were imposed after the end of the Swedish Wars.