Destination Guide

The Travel Well Guide

Agadez

City: Agadez       State: N/A       Country: Niger
 Agadez is the largest city in northern Niger, with a population of 88,569 (2005 census). It lies in the Sahara and is the capital of Aïr, one of the traditional Tuareg federations. The city is also the capital of the Agadez Region, with a population of 347,330 (2005).  The mud-walled city of Agadez lies beneath the foothills of the stark and beautiful Air Mountains, just west of the classic sand-dune sea of the Tenere Desert. An ancient trading town, it grew around the crossroads of the trans-Saharan caravan routes that linked Egypt and Libya to the Lake Chad area and Nigeria. The epitome of an exotic desert town, it is home to Fulani and Hausa tribesmen as well as nomadic Tuaregs, who walk the streets in their billowing blueish-purple robes, faces half covered by swathes of dark fabric.Founded in the 11th century, Agadez was a major Tuareg city, becoming a Sultanate in the 14th century. At its zenith during the 16th century it had a population of 30,000. The city declined during the 17th century after the Moroccan invasion of Sudan, but continued as a centre of Islamic learning. It was taken over by the French, around 1900. Nowadays, still a Sultanate, Agadez is on the 'Uranium Highway' linking Air to Niamey. A French owned uranium mine lies 250 km (156 mi) to the north, its extractions fuelling France's nuclear power stations.The main sight here is the Grand Mosque, built in 1515. Said to be the highest mud-brick minaret in Africa at 27 m (89 ft), it was re-built in 1844 to the original design, spiked with traditional wooden crossbars. Nearby stands the three storey Sultan's Palace - arrange a visit and, possibly, meet the Sultan.The old town is a maze of narrow alleyways between single storey houses, some of which have beautifully decorated facades. At its heart is the Grand Marche where Tuareg people do business with southern Hausa traders. Here are desert handicrafts including Tuareg leather and silverwork. Agadez crosses, of unique geometric design, have protective symbolism, and are worn by almost all Tuaregs. Watch them being made in the Artisan Centre and take one home as a reminder of this remote and romantic place.The city was founded before the fourteenth century and gradually became the most important Tuareg city, supplanting Assodé, by growing around trans-Saharan trade. The city still sees the arrival of caravans, bringing salt from Bilma.In 1449, Agadez became a sultanate, while around 1500 it was conquered by the Songhai Empire. At this point, the city had a population of around 30,000 people and was a key passage for the medieval caravans trading between the West African cities of Kano and Timbuktu and the North African oases of Ghat, Ghadames, and Tripoli, on the Mediterranean shore. Decline set in after the Moroccan invasion, and the population sank to less than 10,000.Tourist place:-Residence of Heinrich Barth , Guides in Agadez / Moussa Touboulou , Internet in Agadez , The Markets of Agadez , The Old Quarter , Visit the Tourist Office for its views , The Old Mosque , Hotels in Agadez.

Climate | When to Visit

Visit during: April to December

Directions | How to Reach

By Air:-There is an international airport serving the city, but with limited flights. Flights between EU countries and Agadez ceased with the start of the second Tuareg Rebellion in 2007. Thus, the most feasible way of arriving in Agadez by air is to arrive in Niamey. By Road:-Agadez lies on the Trans-Sahara Highway, also known as the Algiers-Lagos Highway. The highway provides access north across the Sahara to Algiers and south to Nigeria with a terminus in Lagos. The Trans-Sahelian (or Dakar-N'Djamena) Highway, bisects the Trans-Saharan Highway about 600km south of Agadez.

miscellaneous | Important Information

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