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Architecturally, the city is known for its half-timbered mansions built by its prosperous merchants.Budolfi Church, now a cathedral, dates from the end of the 14th century and Aalborghus Castle, a royal residence, was built in 1550.Today, Aalborg is a city in transition from a working-class industrial area to a knowledge-based community.A major exporter of grain, cement, and spirits, its thriving business interests include Siemens Wind Power, Aalborg Industries, and Aalborg Portland.It was originally settled as a trading post because of its position on the Limfjord.The sites of what were two settlements and a burial ground can be seen on Lindholm Høje, a hill overlooking the city.

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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.Aalborg's earliest trading privileges date from 1342, when King Valdemar IV received the town as part of his huge dowry on marrying Helvig of Schleswig.The privileges were extended by Eric of Pomerania in 1430 and by Christopher of Bavaria in 1441.1040, 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.Grey Friar Convent, on the east side of Østerå, was probably built around 1240; it was documented in 1268 when it was a Franciscan Convent of the Order of Friars Minor, but like many other Roman Catholic monasteries and convents was shut down in 1530 as a result of the Reformation.