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The population grew in parallel with the development of many fine buildings in the city as merchants benefitted from their shipping routes from Norway to Portugal.
Architecturally, the city is known for its half-timbered mansions built by its prosperous merchants.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.The first mention of Aalborg under its original name Alabu or Alabur is found on coins from c.1040, the period when King Harthacnut (Hardeknud) settled in the area. 1075, Adam of Bremen reported that Alaburg, as he called it in German, was an important harbour for ships sailing to Norway.
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.