Kano is the administrative center of the Kano State and the third largest city in Nigeria, in terms of geographical size, after Ibadan and Lagos. Also, in population, it is the third most populous city (with a population of 3,626,204) in the country, trailing Lagos and Ibadan in that order.
It has long been the economic centre of northern Nigeria, and a centre for the production and export of groundnuts. Kano houses the Bayero University and a railway station with trains to Lagos routed through Kaduna, while Kano International Airport lies nearby. Kano has long been a centre for Nigeria's Islamic culture; one of the country's finest mosques lies in the city.
Formerly walled, most of the gates to the Old City survive. The Old City houses the vast Kurmi Market, known for its crafts, while old dye pits – still in use – lie nearby. Also in the Old City are the 15th century Sahelian Emir's Palace, neighbouring Kano Central Mosque and the Gidan Makama Mosque. The Gida Dan Hausa house is another architecturally notable building.
Christians and followers of other non-Muslim religions form only a small part of the population, and traditionally lived in the Sabon Gari, or Foreign Quarter. In the 1970s, the 1980s, and again in 2001 there were inter religious riots in which hundreds are reported to have died - most recently over the introduction of Islamic sharia law.
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