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Niamey is the most populous city in Niger and its capital city. It is situated mostly on the east bank of the Niger River, although portions of the city spill over onto the west bank.

Niamey was probably founded in the 18th century, although it was not a strategically significant city until the French established a colonial post there in the 1890s, after which the city quickly grew. In 1926, French authorities moved the capital from Zinder to Niamey. Its population grew from around 3,000 in 1930 to around 30,000 in 1960, to about a million today, largely because of an influx of people moving into the city to escape unrest elsewhere, or for work, but also through population growth, and the annexation of surrounding villages.

The city has experienced steady growth since Niger became independent, but the 1970-1980s droughts spurred large numbers of rural inhabitants from Niger's dry regions to move to Niamey. Under military government, there were controls on residency and those who moved to the capital without a permit to do so were deported back to their villages. Since the 1980s, the Nigerian people have had greater freedom of movement, resulting in the formation of informal settlements without infrastructure, as well as a growing number of poor people, street children, and handicapped beggars.

More than ninety percent of the population of Niamey are Muslim, and the country's largest mosque is in the capital city. Niamey is also the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Niamey.

French is the official language of Niger. However, it is the second language by those who have received a formal education, and is not regularly spoken outside of the administrative or educational fields. Other languages may include Hausa, Zarma-Sonrai, Arabic, Buduma, Fulfulde, Songhai, Tamasheq, Tassawaw, and Tebu.

The city covers an area of about a hundred square miles, much of it built on top of two plateaus, bisected by the Niger River, which makes a series of wide bends at Niamey.

Although significantly cooler than Nigeria's northern desert regions, the climate in Niamey is hot and semi-arid. The usual rainfall is from twenty to thirty inches a year, starting with a few storms in May, and lasting until early September, with an abrupt transition to the dry season. There is little to no rain from October to April. The city is hot throughout the year and is one of the hottest major cities on earth. The average high temperatures never fall below 90 degrees Fahrenheit, although nights are often cool during the dry season, from the high 50s to the low 60s.

Niamey is governed as an autonomous first-level block, with five urban communes which are divided into forty-four districts and nine-nine quarters, which include some previously independent towns and villages.

The Diori Hamani International Airport is located just southeast of the city, and the Niamey Railway Station was the first constructed in Niger. The RN1 Highways crosses the city.

As the nation's capital, Niamey hosts most of the country's national buildings and foreign embassies and consulates. Other attractions include the Niger National Museum, which includes a zoo, as well as the Grande Mosque, the largest in the country. There are also American, French and Nigerian cultural centers, a horse race track, wrestling center, and other sports facilities.

There are several hospitals in Niamey, as well as institutes of higher learning, such as Abdou Moumouni University, the National School of Administration, and the Higher Institute of Mining, Industry and Geology.

Official sites representing the Niamey government's administrative offices or services, as well as religious institution's, museums, universities and schools, organizations, businesses, and individuals in the city are appropriate for this category.



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