Founded around 1400 years ago, Kano is the oldest city in West Africa and Nigeria's second largest. It was a major crossroads in the trans-Saharan trade routes and, from the Middle Ages, an important centre for Islamic scholarship.
But Kano is now at the forefront of the imposition of sharia law, with issues such as gender segregation of public transport cutting across community fault lines. Boko Haram have been active in the area. Kano has some fascinating sights, but proceed only with extreme caution.