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For other uses, see Urmia (disambiguation).
"Rezaiyeh" redirects here. For the oldest city in West Azarbaijan Province, see Rezaiyeh, Urmia.
ارومیه , Urmia
Official seal of Urmia
Nickname(s): Cradle of Water, Paris of Iran

Coordinates: 37°33′19″N 45°04′21″E / 37.55528°N 45.07250°E / 37.55528; 45.07250Coordinates: 37°33′19″N 45°04′21″E / 37.55528°N 45.07250°E / 37.55528; 45.07250

Country Iran
Province West Azerbaijan
County Urmia
Bakhsh Central
 • Mayor Hazratpoor (حضرت پور) [1]
Elevation 1,332 m (4,370 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 1,265,721
 • Population Rank in Iran 7th
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRDT (UTC+4:30)
Area code(s) 0441, 0443
Welcome to Bakeri City

Urmia (pronounced [oɾumiːjeh]) (Azerbaijani/Persian:اورمیه or ارومیه; Aramaic: ܐܘܪܡܝܐ‎; Armenian: Ուրմիա) variously transliterated as Oroumiyeh, Orūmīyeh and Urūmiyeh, also formerly known (during the Pahlavi Dynasty, 1925–1979) as Rezaeyeh, Rezā’īyeh, Rezâiyye (Persian: رضائیه‎) [2] is a city in and the capital of West Azerbaijan Province, Iran. At the 2012 census, its population was 1,265,721 with 700,000 households.[3]

The city lies at an altitude of 1,330 m above sea level on the Shahar Chay river (City River). Urmia is the 10th most populated city in Iran. The population is mostly made of Azeris,[4][5][6][7] alongside with minorities of Kurds, Assyrian Christian and Armenian.[8]

Urmia is situated on a fertile plain called Urmia Plain, on western side of Lake Urmia; and eastern side of Turkish border and marginal range of mountains.

Urmia is the trade center for a fertile agricultural region where fruit (especially apple and grape) and tobacco are grown. An important town by the 9th century, Urmia was seized by the Seljuk Turks (1184), and later occupied a number of times by the Ottoman Turks. Urmia was the seat of the first U.S. Christian mission in Iran (1835). Around AD 1900, Christians made up more than 40% of the city's population, however, most of the Christians fled in 1918 as a result of Ottomans' massacres against Assyrians and Armenians.[9] According to another source, around 1900, 40% of the population of the region was Christian (Assyrian and Armenian)[10] and the city itself had an Assyrian population of 600[10] or 7,500 by another estimate.[11]


"Mia" is Aramaic Syriac meaning "water." Hence Urmia simply means 'Watertown" — a befitting name for a city situated by a lake and surrounded by rivers, would be the cradle of water.[12] As of 1921, Urmia was also called, Urumia and Urmi.[13]


Urmia is one of the historic ancient cities in Iran with Assyrian origins. The excavations of the ancient ruins near Urmia led to the discovery of utensils that date back to 2000 years B.C.. According to Vladimir Minorsky, there have been villages in the Urmia plain some 2000 years B.C., with their civilization under the influence of Van nation.

In the ancient times, the west bank of Urmia lake was called Gilzan, and in the ninth century B.C. an independent government ruled there which later joined the Urartu or Mana empire; in the eighth century B.C., the area was a vassal of the Asuzh government until it joined the Median Empire after its formation.

All and all, according to historical documents, the western part of the Urmia Lake has been a center of attention of the prehistoric nations, the evidence of which are the numerous ancient hills in the area, such as Gouy Tapeh, 6 km (3.7 mi) southeast of the lake which competes with the oldest hills of Mesopotamia, Asia the Minor, and the Iranian Plateau.

The claim that the area was the birthplace of Zoroaster (this is disputed because most experts agree Zoroaster was most likely born in the eastern part of Greater Iran), or even the burial site of one or two of the Zoroastrian priests who allegedly traveled to Bethlehem for Christ’s birth indicate that the city has been one of the largest religious and scientific centers of the ancient times.[14]

Some historians claimed that Urmia was a birthplace of Zarathustra, the founder of Zoroastrian religion.[15] The Columbia Encyclopedia mentions that Urmia was an important town in the region during the 9th century.

The Ottoman Turks made several incursions into the city, but the Safavids were soon able to regain control over the area. The first monarch of Iran's Qajar dynasty, Agha Muhammad Khan, was crowned in Urmia in 1795.

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. Another mission soon became operational in nearby Tabriz as well. During World War I the population was estimated as 30,000 by Dr. Caujole, a quarter were Assyrians and 1,000 were Jews.[11]

During the 19th century, the region became the center of a short lived Assyrian renaissance with many books and newspapers being published in Syriac. Urmia was also the seat of a Chaldean diocese.[16][17]

At the beginning of the First World War tens of thousands of Assyrians and Armenians from Anatolia found refuge in Urmia. The city changed hands several times between Russians and Kurds the following two years.[18] The influx of Christian refugees and their alliance with the Russians angered the Muslims who attacked the Christian quarter in February 1918, The better armed Assyrians managed however to capture the whole city following a brief battle.[18] The region descended into chaos again after the assassination of the Assyrian patriarch Shimun XXI Benyamin at the hands of Simko Shikak one month later. Turkish armies and Samko managed to finally take and plunder the city in June/July 1918.[19] Thousands of Assyrians were massacred, others found refuge under British protection in Iraq.[19][20]



Urmia's climate is cold semi-arid (Köppen: BSk) with cold winters, mild springs, hot dry summers and warm autumns. Precipitation is heavily concentrated in late autumn, winter, and especially spring, while summer precipitation is very scarce.

Climate data for Urmia (Orumiyeh)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.4
Average high °C (°F) 2.6
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.3
Average low °C (°F) −6.1
Record low °C (°F) −22.8
Precipitation mm (inches) 30.2
Avg. precipitation days 9.6 9.4 11.4 12.7 12 5 2.2 1.7 2.1 7.1 8.3 8.5 90
Avg. snowy days 8.5 7.5 3.7 0.8 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 1.5 5.5 27.8
 % humidity 76 74 65 60 58 51 48 48 49 60 70 74 61.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 114 132.9 169.6 197.9 268.6 344.3 364 341.2 293.1 222.3 166.4 118.7 2,733
Source #1: World Meteorological Organisation
Source #2: NOAA (extremes, mean, snow, sun, humidity, 1961–1990) [21]


According to official census of 2006, the population of Urmia city is about 577,307 (with 153,570 households).[22]

Language and people

The population is mostly made of Azerbaijanis[4][5][6][7] and alongside Kurds,[6][7] Assyrian Christian[6][7] and Armenian[6][7] minorities. The majority of the population also can speak Persian, the official language of Iran, in addition to their own native tongue.[23][24][25]


The majority of people are followers of Shia Islam. Also there are Catholic, Protestant, Nestorian, and Orthodox Christians, followers of Sunni Islam, followers of Bahá'í Faith, Jews and followers of different kinds of Sufism.

Parks and touristic centers

Urmia has many parks and touristic costal villages in the shore of Urmia Lake. The oldest park in Urmia, called Park-e Saat, was established in the first Pahlavi's era. Urmia's largest park is Ellar Bagi Park (Azerbaijani "People`s Garden") along the Shahar Chayi, or the "City River".

Lakes and Ponds:

  • Urmia Lake Natural Park
  • Hasanloo Lake
  • Marmisho Lake
  • Shahrchay ِDam
  • Urmia Lake Islands


  • Haft Abad
  • Soole Dokel
  • Dana Boğan
  • Ali Pancesi
  • Isti Sou


  • Park-e Saat (Clock Park)
  • Park-e Jangali (Jungle Park)
  • Ellar Bagi (People`s Garden)
  • Park-e Shahr (City Park)
  • Park-e Saheli (Riverside Park)
  • Park-e Shaghayegh
  • Alghadir Park
  • Tokhmemorghi (Oval) Park
  • Ghaem Park

and ....

Touristic Costal Villages:

  • Chichest
  • Bari
  • Fanoos
  • Sier
  • Band
  • Khoshako

Landscape Attractions:

  • Ghasemloo Valley
  • Kazem Dashi Islet in Lake Urmia
  • Kashtiban Village
  • Imamzada Village
  • Silvana Region
  • Rashekan to Dash Aghol
  • Nazloo
  • Dalamper
  • Kaboodan Island


Sport is an important part of Urmia's culture. The most popular sport in Urmia is volleyball. Urmia is Iran's volleyball capital,its because of ranks that Heyat Volleyball Urmia VC got in Iranian Volleyball Super League and for the great volleyball players that are in Iran men's national volleyball team and first class coaches in Iran.

2010 Asian Men's Cup Volleyball Championship was held in Ghadir Arena in Urmia.


The city has been home to various ethnic groups during its long history. For this reason, the demographics of the city have undergone numerous changes. Some historical documents show that at the beginning of the 20th century, the city's population had a significant Christian minority (Assyrians and Armenians).[9] According to Macuch, and Ishaya, the city was the spiritual capital of the Assyrians from 1830 to the end of World War I by the influence of four Christian missions.[26] Large number of the Assyrians and Armenians were killed in 1914 as result of the conflict with Ottoman forces. This led to a shift in the city's demographics.[26] During the era of Reza Shah Pahlavi, Iranian Assyrians were invited to return to the region and several thousand did return.



  • Natural History Museum – Displays the animals native to the vicinity of Urmia.
  • Urmia Museum – Archaeological museum affiliated with the faculty of Shahid Beheshti University.
  • Urmia Museum of Crafts and Classical Arts.
  • Urmia Museum of َAntrophology.


Turkey in Beheshti Ave., Urmia, Iran.


Higher education

Urmia was an important center for higher education approximately a century ago, indeed, medical faculty of Urmia which was built by Joseph Cochran and a team of American medical associates in 1878, is the first University of Iran. Unfortunately the faculty became shut down even before establishment of first official university of Iran, University of Tehran.
Nowadays Urmia has become a considerable educational city. The city owns state and private universities and institutes listed below.

Universities in Urmia:

University Web Site
Urmia University [1]
Malek Ashtar University of Technology Urmia Branch [2]
Urmia University of Medical Sciences [3]
Urmia University of Technology [4]
Islamic Azad University of Urmia [5]
Payame Noor University of Urmia [6]
Elmi Karbordi University of Urmia [7]
University College of Saba [8]
University College of Azarabadegan [9]
University College of Elm O fan [10]
University College of Kamal [11]
Shahid Beheshti Technical School [12]
Ghazi Tabatabaee Technical School [13]
The Girls Technical School of Urmia [14]
Najand Institute of Higher Education [15]
University Collage Afagh [16]


  • Central Library of Urmia
  • Shahid Bahonar Library
  • Library of I.R.Iran Education Ministry
  • Library of Urmia Cultural and Artistical Center
  • Allame Tabatabayee Library
  • Library of Khane-ye-Javan
  • Library of Shahid Motahhari
  • Library of kanoon parvaresh fekri
  • Library of Ghaem
  • Library of Imam Ali



Urmia has one state television channel West Azerbaijan TV that broadcasts in both Azerbaijani and Persian languages. It broadcasts internationally through satellite Intelsat 902.[27]


Urmia has one radio channel broadcasting in both Azerbaijani, and Persian languages. The name of the local radio is Chichest.[27]



  • Orumiye


  • Sedaye Urmia
  • Amanat
  • Koosha
  • Araz

Beside other minor Press that are being published regularly.


Health systems

The government of Iran operates the public hospitals in the Urmia metropolitan region, some of which are aligned with medical faculties. There are also a number of private hospitals and medical centers in the city.


  • Imam Khomeiny Hospital
  • Motahari Hospital
  • Imam Riza Hospital
  • Beheshti Hospital
  • Taleghani Hospital
  • Fatimiye Pro-Medical Clinic
  • Kosar Women's Pro-Medical Clinic
  • Shafa Hospital
  • Solati Hospital
  • Seyedoshohada Heart Pr0-Hospital
  • Gholipour Children's Pro-Hospital
  • Razi Psychiatry Pro-Hospital
  • 504 Artesh Hospital
  • Arefian Hospital
  • Azerbaijan Hospital
  • Milad Hospital
  • Omid Cancer Pro-Clinic


Inner City:

Most Urmia residents travel by car through the system of roads and highways. Urmia is also served by taxi and bus.

Urmia has taxi and public bus network. There are also some private groups, which provide services called Phone-taxi. and urmia metro lines is under the research.


  • Roads

Urmia is linked to Europe through Turkey's roads and Sero border.

  • Railways

The city is going to link to Iran National Railways (IRIR, Persian: رجا ).

  • Airport

Urmia Airport opened in 1964 and is the first international airport in West Azerbaijan county, Iran. Its international air routes are to the following cities:[28]

  • Karbala

Other west Azerbaijan international airport is Khoy airport. Domestic air routes to:Tehran, Mashhad, Kish Island, Shiraz, Esfahan.[28]

Notable people

See also

Iran portal


External links

  • The Governor of West Azarbaijan Province
  • Urmia Branch of Ministry of Internal Affairs

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