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Odense has close associations with Hans Christian Andersen who is remembered above all for his fairy tales.He was born in the city in 1805 and spent his childhood years there.The city celebrated its thousandth anniversary in 1988, commemorating the first mention of the town's name in a letter dated 18 March 988 from the German Emperor Otto III which granted rights to Odense and neighbouring settlements.The territory, previously part of the vast Archbishopric of Hamburg, was created a Catholic diocese in 988.The city gates were demolished in 1851 and soon afterwards development extended to the area south of the river.Glove production, which had begun in the 18th century, developed into one of the most important industries while the harbour facilities were further expanded.
In the present day, Odense remains the commercial hub of Funen, and has a notable shopping district with a diversity of stores.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.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.