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Odense has close associations with Hans Christian Andersen who is remembered above all for his fairy tales.
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.
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.
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.