Roskilde, which developed as the hub of the Viking land and sea trade routes over a thousand years ago, is one of Denmark's oldest cities.From the 11th century until 1443, it was the capital of Denmark.Absalon, the Danish bishop, had a brick church built on the site of Harald's church in 1170.Today's cathedral was completed in 1275 after five of Absalon's successors had contributed to its construction.
On high ground above the harbour, he built a wooden church consecrated to the Holy Trinity as well as a royal residence nearby.The Roskilde bishops owned large areas of land in the region including, from 1186, Havn on the Øresund which later became Copenhagen.By the time of the Danish Reformation in 1536, there were 12 churches and five monasteries in the city.Industries began to move out of the harbour area but were still the largest source of employment, thanks in part to the spirits factory (De Danske Spritfabrikker) and the slaughterhouse (Roskilde Andelssvineslagteri).In the 1970s, the city benefited from the Holbæk Motorway which linked it to Copenhagen and the establishment of Roskilde University in 1972.
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As a result of Absalon's influence, many other churches were built in the vicinity, making Roskilde the most important town in Zealand.Coins were minted there from the 11th to the 14th century.It is not clear when Roskilde became a market town but it was certainly enjoying trading privileges under King Eric II who reigned from 1134 to 1137.These privileges were firmly established when the Roskilde City Council granted market town status to other towns on Zealand on 15 June 1268.Although no traces of these buildings have been discovered, in 1997 archaeologists found the remains of Viking ships in the Isefjord, the oldest of which is dated to 1030.
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