Agadez is a historic city in the Aïr region of Northern Niger. Founded in the 11th century, Agadez was an important stop for caravans crossing the Saharan Desert for centuries. Agadez was held by the Mali Empire during part of the 14th century, captured by the Songhai Empire in 1515, and controlled by Bornu in the 17th century. It remained a trade center until the late 19th century. During much of this time it was a center of Islamic learning and the seat of several sultanates before its capture by the French in 1900.
It is a center of Tuareg culture, and of unrest: there have been Tuareg rebellions in 1990-1995 and 2007-present. The Tuareg are renowned for their metal and leather workings. The region around Agadez is known for its spectacular desert and mountain scenery. It is also the center of one of the largest uranium mining regions on Earth.
The historic centre of Agadez was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2013.
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 600 km south of Agadez.
Due to the security situation, vehicles without a security escort are prohibited from leaving Agadez after 4:00PM.
There is bus service to Niamey.
Leather and silver handicrafts are made.
- Annual Salt Festival
Agadez Tuareg Cross - The markings and geometrical design of Tuareg crosses and Tuareg jewelry in general translates into protective symbolism. "God is the center of the universe, we are one with God" and "no matter where you go God and I shall always be with you and protect you" are common Saharan interpretations. Those of the Muslim faith believe that the arms of the cross will disperse all evil from the individual, thus keeping him out of harms way. Tuareg parents are known to give these exquisite silver crosses to their children when they are about to depart from home but they are worn by all as a form of good luck and protection. The silver crosses are uniquely shaped and are named after the town of Agadez from where they originate. The cross bears the jeweler's mark on its back. The beaded necklace contains four cylindrical decoratively embossed silver segments.
The Touareg crosses sold come in a number of designs. The Agadez cross is the most common, but many others are available. Each design is associated with a particular Touareg market town. Other examples include the Timia cross, the Iferouane cross and the unusual Ingal cross.
- Le Piliers, ☏ . Italian restaurant run by the owner of the restaurants by the same name in Niamey and Iferouane.
There is not much around Agadez to visit.