Urmia, the capital of the West Azerbaijan is 1,280 m above sea level and at a distance of 946 km from Tehran, on the west of Lake Urmia. Many people consider Urmia as an important Iranian city. There are temples in Urmia belonging to the followers of different religions including Zoroastrians, Christians, and Moslems. Urmia has often been the scene of historic events, from immigration of the Medes to the region, to the invasion by Alexander; from Arab domination over Iran and naturally Azerbaijan, to the reign of the Seljuqs; from the attack of the Mongol Ottoman Empire, and Russia. The people of this poetry known as “Bayati”, in memory of their experiences of good and bad times.
West Azerbaijan is a mountainous area which lies in the northwest of Iran .This province, excluding the lake Urmia, covers an area of 37,463 km2. It is surrounded by the province of Kurdistan on the south, the Republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia on the north, Turkey and Iraq on the west, East Azerbaijan on the east Zanjan on the south east .The capital of this province is Urmia. Its major cities are: Bukan , Khoy , Maku , Mahabad , Miyandoab , Piranshahr ,Shahin dej, Salmas, Sardasht, Naghade and Takab .According to the latest census carried out in 1996 , its population was then 2,496,320. Kurdish and Turkish (Azari) are the languages of its people .This province is an ideal region for agriculture, and also offers good potentials for animal husbandry and fishery. The climate of West Azerbaijan is Mediterranean, but it is quite cold at higher altitudes and vast areas are covered with snow in winter. In general, this province has warm summers and cold winters.
The average temperature in the capital is 13.7°C in spring, 22.3°C in summer, 8.7°C in autumn and -0.5 in winters .The average temperature in Urmia over the past 30 years has been 10.9°C; average relative humidity at 6:30 hours, is 60% and at 12:30 hours, 38%; average annual rainfall , 342.5 mm ; maximum amount of rainfall on a single day ,80mm ; average number of hours of sunshine over the year, 2938.3; and the maximum wind speed 29 meters per second, blowing in the direction of 270.
Major Natural Features
Lake Urmia, the largest inland water of the country, covers an area of about 5,000 km2, and lies in the west of the province. Because of the high salinity, plant and animal life is very limited in this lake. The artemia salina lobster is the only marine animal living in this lake, and attracts many birds, such as flamingoes and wild ducks, to this region, each year. Its water contains many minerals such as sodium chloride (238 g/l), magnesium sulphate, magnesium chloride, potassium chloride and calcium chloride. The mud around the lake is used for curing pains and diseases by masking the body in it. Kabudan Island the major island in Lake Urmia is the habitat to extensive varieties of flora and fauna. Aras river, in the north of this province, forms a natural border between the province and the republic of Nakhichevan. Other major rivers of this province are Zarinerood ,302 km long, and Siminerood, 173km long , both of which flow into lake Urmia. These two rivers are the habitat of different types of fish.West Azerbaijan also possesses a large number of mineral water springs, which are very popular with the tourists .The major springs are: Zendan-e-Soleyman (prison of Soleyman) which lies in Miyandoab; Zabil spring, northeast of Uremia; Bukan spring, and haft Abe spring, 50 km southwest of the city of Urmia. West Azerbaijan enjoys diverse flora and fauna. Forests, castles, preserved parks, hunting grounds, caves and meadows render special attraction to this province. The highest peaks of West Azerbaijan are sheydan, 3,555 m high; Bursina, 3,480 m; Dalapu, 3,380 m and Khalil 3,100 m.
Urmia, the capital of West Azerbaijan is 1,280 m above sea level and at a distance of 946 km from Tehran, on the west of Lake Urmia. Many people consider Urmia as an important Iranian city. There are temples in Urmia belonging to the followers of different religions including Zoroastrians, Christian and Moslems. Urmia has often been the scene of historic events , from immigration of the Medes to the region, to the invasion by Alexander; from Arab domination over Iran and naturally Azerbaijan, to the region, to the invasion by Alexander; from Arab domination over Iran and naturally Azerbaijan, to the region of the seljuqs; from attack of the Mongol hordes, to the occupation of Azerbaijan by the Ottoman Empire, and Russia. The people of this region have extensive oral culture in the form of folk poetry known as ”Bayati”, in memory of their experiences of good and bad times.
Name: Takht-e Soleyman
Type: Historic complex. Description: This is a complex of prehistoric and historic monuments including a castle, a fire –temple and a number of watch-towers. Some parts of these grand monuments were constructed in prehistoric times. Its essential part and its fire-temple were constructed in the Sassanid era, but were destroyed by the Roman emperor, Heraclius, in 642 A.D.
Name: Hasanlu Hill
Type: And ancient. Description: Many traces of historic and prehistoric times have been found in this hill, including a golden cup which weight 560 gr. There are several buildings, such as a temple, number of halls an arsenal. The oldest part of this hill dates back to 8,000 years ago.
Name: Jame Mosque of Urmia
Type: Mosque. Description: This mosque is considered as one of the most remarkable historic monuments of Urmia. It has a mehrab with impressive plaster-work and Kufic inscription.
Name: Jame Mosque of Mahabad
Type: Mosque and theological school. Description: In spite of the rather plain and simple decoration, this mosque offers special architectural features such as the design of its ceiling and stone pillars.
Name: Baghche Jugh
Type: palace and garden. Description: A palace, with exquisite decorations, situated in the center of a large garden, at a distance of 8km west of Maku
Type: An ancient tomb as a cave. Description: This cave, which is situated in the heart of a mountain, is the tomb of Fraraatis, the first king of the Medes.
Name: Khoy Bazaar
Type: An old. Description: This bazaar, its surrounding buildings, including a stone gateway, displays an impressive example of ancient Iranian architecture.
Name: Church of Saint Mary
Type: Church. Description: this church is one of the most famous Assyrians churches of the world.
Museums of Urmia: Museum of archeology and anthropology
Museum of Baghche Chugh: palace with its remarkable architecture
Khoy Museum: Museum of archeology, anthology and decorative
Miyandoab Museum: Museum of archeology (before and after Islam) and decorative arts.
Urmia: Sardar Mosque, Menareh Mosque, Urmia Bazaar, Farhad Cave, Enghelab Square, Castle of Esmail Agha
Khoy: Khatun Bridge, Motaleb Khan’s Mosque, Shamse Tabrizi Minaret, Sarkis Church
Salamas: Saint Gorge Church
Maku: Shahrebani Building (police building), Kolah Farangi Building, Roosa inscription, Dare sham Church
Carpet weaving, Kilim weaving, Jjajim weaving, pottery, mat making, shawl weaving, basketwork, and woodwork are amongst the major industries of this province.