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In the 900s an earth rampart for the defence of the early city was constructed, encircling the settlement, much like the defence structures found at Viking ring fortresses elsewhere.The rampart was later reinforced by Harald Bluetooth, and together with the town's geographical placement, this suggests that Aros was an important trade and military centre.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.
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.
The city ranks as the 92nd largest city in the European Union, and as number 234 among world cities. Aarhus is the principal industrial port of the country in terms of container handling and an important trade hub in Kattegat.
Major Danish companies have based their headquarters here and people commute for work and leisure from a wide area in Region Midtjylland.
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.