- This article should be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page.
The department of Maradi is located east of the department of Tahoua and west of Zinder, in the center of Niger, north of Nigeria's city of Kano. The population of the department is majority Hausa. Most of the land is classified as "Sahel," though the northern parts head toward desert, and the very southern edges along the boarder with Nigeria get almost enough rain to be considered tropical (?).
The Maradi (Niger)-Nigeria boarder dips south below the department's capital, forming an area sometimes called the "breadbasket" of Niger. Tobacco, peanuts, mangoes, wheat, soy beans and even cotton can be found grown in some , along with the national staples of millet, sorghum and cow peas.
Maradi is the third largest city in Niger and the administrative centre of the Department of Maradi. It has long been a merchant city, on the route north from Kano.
Maradi was originally built on a lush flood plain, but after several severe floods, moved up to a plateau just above the flood plain. As of a 2001 (?) census, the official population of Maradi was 250,000 people, but its actual population may be as high as 350,000. The predominant ethnic group in the city is Hausa, with a few urbanized Fulani and Tuaregs living there as well.
The city lies in a region known for ground nut farming. Originally part of Katsina, a Hausa state, it became independent in the nineteenth century.
Attractions in Maradi include the Dan Kasswa Mosque and Maradi Chief's Palace, but much of the rest of the city dates from the 1950s and later and is becoming industrialised.
Entering the city from the west or east means taking a southerly exit off the two-lane highway that crosses Niger. That road takes you up to the plateau-top, past Coca-Cola, Nescafe and "Stop SIDA" signs (French for AIDS), below a large painted cement arch, and onto the main drag through town. The city's market (a full city block, open every day) can be found on the right, less than a kilometer into town, with a wide entry marked by tall painted cement pillars.