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The local airport opened in 1973, mainly serving light aircraft for business use and flight instruction.Among the city's notable citizens are Absalon, the bishop who founded Copenhagen in the 12th century, L. Ring, the symbolist painter who gained fame in the 1880s, the writer Lise Nørgaard who wrote the popular Danish TV series Matador in 1978 and the rower Thomas Ebert who became an Olympic gold medallist in 2004.
In the 1870s and 1880s, the harbour was extended attracting industrial firms to the area.The Sankt Hans psychiatric hospital serves the Capital Region with specialized facilities for forensic psychiatry.The cathedral and the Viking Ship Museum, which contains the well-preserved remains of five 11th-century ships, attract more than 100,000 visitors annually.In addition to its internationally recognized tourist attractions and its annual rock festival, Roskilde is popular with shoppers thanks to its two centrally located pedestrian streets complete with restaurants, cafés, and a variety of shops.The city is home to the FC Roskilde football club which play in the Danish 1st Division, the Roskilde Vikings RK rugby club, and the rowing club, Roskilde Roklub.In the 1970s, the city benefited from the opening of the university and from the completion of the Holbæk Motorway connecting it to Copenhagen.
Roskilde has the oldest operational railway station in Denmark, with connections across Zealand as well as with Falster, Lolland, and Jutland.
The Roskilde bishops owned large areas of land in the region including, from 1186, Havn on the Øresund which later became Copenhagen.
By the time of the Danish Reformation in 1536, there were 12 churches and five monasteries in the city.
By the end of the century, there were tobacco factories, iron foundries and machine shops.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Roskilde first prospered as a satellite community for Copenhagen but then, as ships increased in size, suffered from the fact that the harbour was too small and Roskilde Fjord too shallow for navigation.
According to Adam of Bremen and the Saxo Grammaticus, Roskilde was founded in the 980s by Harald Bluetooth.