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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.
At the beginning of the 12th century, Benedictine monks from England founded St Canute's Abbey.
The University of Southern Denmark was established in 1966.
In the present day, Odense remains the commercial hub of Funen, and has a notable shopping district with a diversity of stores.
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.