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An 8 kilometre (5.0 mi) long, 7.5 metre (25 ft) deep canal from Odense Harbour to Odense Fjord was built between 17 to facilitate the growth of Odense as a port city, radically increasing its level of trade and population.From the 1840s, the city enjoyed a period of rapid expansion beyond its traditional boundaries, becoming Denmark's second largest city.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.It was here the English monk Ælnoth wrote Denmark's first literary work, Vita et Passio S. In the Middle Ages, a number of churches and monasteries were built in the town. Knuds Kirke), now the cathedral, dates from the end of the 13th century and was closely connected to the Benedictine Order.The town's other old churches are St Mary's (Vor Frue Kirke) and St John's (Skt. Greyfriars Monastery (Gråbrødre Kloster) was founded by the Franciscans in 1279.The first recorded bishops of Odense were Odinkar Hvide and Reginbert, who was consecrated by Archbishop Æthelnoth of Canterbury, in 1022.Canute IV of Denmark, generally considered to be the last Viking king, was murdered by unruly peasants, discontent with the high taxes he imposed on the town, in Odense's St Alban's Priory on 10 July 1086.

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.

The priory no longer exists, although a church has been situated on the site since about 900.

At the beginning of the 12th century, Benedictine monks from England founded St Canute's Abbey.

Although the city was burned in 1249 following a royal rivalry, it quickly recovered and flourished as a centre of commerce in the Middle Ages.

After a period of decline, large-scale plans for development were made during the 18th century, which led to the rebuilding of Odense Palace and the building of a canal to the Port of Odense, facilitating trade.

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