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The area around the narrowest point on the Limfjord attracted settlements as far back as the Iron Age leading to a thriving Viking community until around the year 1000 in what has now become Aalborg.

In the Middle Ages, royal trading privileges, a natural harbour and a thriving herring fishing industry contributed to the town's growth.

The sites of what were two settlements and a burial ground can be seen on Lindholm Høje, a hill overlooking the city.

These large settlements, one from the 6th-century Germanic Iron Age, the other from the Viking Age in the 9th to 11th centuries, evolved at the narrowest point on Limfjord as a result of the traffic between Himmerland to the south and Vendsyssel to the north.

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The herring fishery linked Aalborg to the East coast of England, across the North Sea, both in commercial competition and cultural exchange.

The distance to Copenhagen is 412 kilometres (256 mi). Aalborg's position at the narrowest point on the Limfjord made it an important harbour during the Middle Ages, and later a large industrial centre.

Architecturally, the city is known for its half-timbered mansions built by its prosperous merchants.

During the Middle Ages a number of important institutions were established in Aalborg, including Budolfi Cathedral in the late 14th century and the Hospital of the Holy Ghost, a monastery and nunnery founded in 1451 to help those in need.

In 1530 a large part of the town was destroyed by fire, and in December 1534 it was stormed and plundered by the king's troops after a peasants' revolt known as the Count's Feud led by Skipper Clement. From the 1550s to the 1640s, as a result of increased foreign trade, Aalborg enjoyed great prosperity, second only to that of Copenhagen.

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