Urmia is one of the metropolises in Iran. It is the center of West Azerbaijan province and is located in northwestern Iran in the area of Azerbaijan. With approximate population of 900,000 persons, Urmia is the tenth most populous cities in Iran. The altitude of the city is 1332 meters and the city is located in the hillside of Sir Mountain in the plains of Urmia.

With over three thousand years old history, Urmia is the oldest city of northwestern Iran and that is why Urmia is registered as the 19th historical city of Iran in UNESCO. Urmia had experienced numerous events such as the occupation by the Ottomans and the Russians in past centuries. The city’s position is like a highway connecting  Caucasus, Mesopotamia and Asia Minor in the past, so it has been one the most important commercial areas of west Iran.

As a city, Urmia has had the first Modern hospital, the first medical training center, the first modern school, the first local TV channel, the first local newspaper in Iran. It is also the capital of Volleyball in Iran as well as having the second heaviest traffic in Iran. Urmia is also called the city of water, the city of religions and ethnic groups and the Paris of Iran. The city was renamed to “Rezaeieh” in Pahlavid Era.

 The majority of residents of Western-Azarbaijan province are Kurds and Azeri (Turks). But the Assyrian and Armenian minorities are living in the province, especially in Urmia. 


In Assyrian language “Ur” means city and “mia” with the same Arabic roots means “water”. So all together “Urmia” means “City of Water”. The name of the city at the beginning of Reza Shah Pahlavi’s era was chanded to “Rezaeieh” because of the monarch’s much interests for the city, but it was renamed again to “Urmia” after the Islamic revolution.

Some believe that the name Azerbaijan is derived from the “Azarabadegan” which means “the land of fire”. The biggest Zoroastrian fire temples were located in this region. In the capital of Azerbaijan (Country)- Baku- for instance, there is still an important one exists.

The Persians settled in the west and south of Urmia lake in their migration from Iranvij. The Urmia Plain had been the territory of the Medes, Assyrians, and other nations in ancient times. Historically, the ancient history of Azerbaijan is mixed with the history of the Median tribe.

According to Vladimir Minorsky, there were villages in the Urmia plain as early as 2000 BC, with their civilization under the influence of the Kingdom of Van. The excavations of the ancient ruins near Urmia led to the discovery of utensils that date to the 20th century BC. During the Safavid era, the neighboring Ottoman Turks, who were the archrivals of the Safavids, made several incursions into the city and captured it on more than one occasion, but the Safavids successfully defended their control over the area.

Due to the presence of substantial Christian minority at the end of the 19th century, Urmia was also chosen as a site .of the first American Christian mission in Iran in 1835


Urmia’s weather with an average temperature of 8.9 degrees Celsius is warm in summer and cold in winter. Temperatures in Urmia are much colder than most of the remainder of Iran because of the elevation.

Top Tourist Attractions:

Urmia lake, Marmisho lake, Se Gonbad, Khoshako Ski Resort, Jameh Mosque of Urmia, Sardar Mosque, Kalleh Shin  Inscription, Hazrat-e maryam Church, Clock Museum, St. Thaddeus Church, Nine-steps (Doquz Pelleh) Ice house and etc.

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