Zinder is the second largest city in Niger, lying north of Kano in Nigeria. From the eighteenth century it was the centre of the state of Damgaram. It had a population of over 20,000 and was known for its city wall, remains of which can still be seen, and for its slave market.
The city was captured by the French in 1899, and when Niger became a colony it was the first capital, until Niamey was promoted in 1926. Today, Zinder comprises three main areas. Birni, the old town, is home to Zinder Great Mosque and the Zinder Sultan's Palace, as well as a museum. Zengou, the old Hausa settlement, is known for its vernacular architecture. The new town, in between Birni and Zengou, is the commercial centre, known for its large markets.
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