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Iran-Photo of beautiful flowers in the city of Urmia.jpg
Official seal of Urmia
Nickname(s): Cradle of Water, Paris of Iran
Urmia is located in 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 680,228
 • Population Rank in Iran 11th
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRDT (UTC+4:30)
Area code(s) 0443
Website www.urmia.ir
Welcome to Bakeri City

Urmia[nb 1][nb 2] (pronounced [oɾumiˈje]) (Persian: ارومیه‎, Azerbaijani:اورمیّه ,ﺍﻭﺭﻣﻮ , Urmiyə, Urmu; Kurdish: Ûrmiye, Wirmê, or Urmê; Aramaic: ܐܘܪܡܝܐ‎; Armenian: Ուրմիա) or Urumiyeh, or Urumiah is a city in and the capital of West Azerbaijan Province, Iran. Urmia is situated at an altitude of 1,330 m above sea level, and is located along the Shahar Chay river (City River) on the Urmia Plain. Lake Urmia lies to the east of the city, with the mountainous Turkish border to the west.

Urmia is the 10th most populated city in Iran. At the 2012 census, its population was 667,499 with 197,749 households.[2] The city's inhabitants are predominantly Azeris,[3][4][5][6] who live alongside minorities of Kurds, Assyrians, Jews and Armenians.[7]

The city 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[8][9][9][10] as a result of the Persian Campaign during World War I and the Armenian and Assyrian Genocides.


The name Urmia derives from the Kingdom of Urartu. This is due to Urartian accredited fortresses and countless artifacts found spanning across Azerbaijan and into of what is today the Azerbaijan province of Iran denoting an Urartian etymology.[11] The city's Armenian population also complements the idea of an Urartian origin. According to Vladimir Minorsky, there have been villages in the Urmia plain some 2000 years B.C., 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 back to 2000 years B.C.. 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. Richard Nelson Frye also suggested a Urartian origin for the name.[12]

T. Burrow connected the origin of the name Urmia to Indo-Iranian urmi- "wave" and urmya- "undulating, wavy",[13] which is due to the local Assyrian folk etymology for the name which related "Mia" to 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.[14] This also suggests, that the Assyrians referred to the Urartian influence in Urmia as ancestors of the inhabitants of the Sumerian city state Ur, referenced Biblically as "Ur of the Chaldees". Further association of the Urmia/Urartian/Ur etymology from the Assyrian folk legend is the fact that the Urartian language is also referenced as the Chaldean language, a standardized simplification of Neo-Assyrian cuneiform, which originated from the accreditation to Urartian chief god Ḫaldi or Khaldi. Thus the root of Urmia is an Assyrian reference to the etymology of the Urartu/Ur Kingdoms and the Aramaic word "Mia" meaning water, which as T. Burrow noted, referenced the city that is situated by a lake and surrounded by rivers.

As of 1921, Urmia was also called, Urumia and Urmi.[15] During the Pahlavi Dynasty (1925–1979), the city was called Rezaiyeh[nb 3] (Persian: رضائیه‎) after Rezā Shāh, the dynasty's founder, whose name ultimately derives from the Islamic concept of rida via the Eighth Imam in Twelver Shia Islam, Ali al-Ridha.


People of Ourmiah awaiting the Shah, 1911
Ourmiah Fruit Market, 1911

According to historical documents, the western part of the Urmia Lake has been a center of attention of the prehistoric nations, 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 (also called Zarahustra) 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.

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 of which (7,500) were Assyrians and 1,000 were Jews.[10]

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
Average 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: worldweather.com[21]
Source #2: NOAA (extremes, mean, snow, sun, humidity, 1961–1990) [22]


A general view of Urmia

According to official census of 2012, the population of Urmia city is about 667,499 (with 197,749 households).[23]


The population of Urmia in the early islamic period were christian, there were also Kurds.[24] In the 19th century, Urmia was a christian city.[25] By 1900 the Christianity population of the town had grown to some 40-50 percent.[26][27] Between 1830 and 1918 the town was the spiritual capital of the Assyrians in Iran.[28] The population is mostly made of Azerbaijanis[3][4][5][6] and alongside Kurds,[5][6] Assyrians[5][6] and Armenian[5][6] minorities. The majority of the population can also speak Persian, the official language of Iran, in addition to their own native tongue.[29][30][31]


The majority of people are followers of Shia Islam. There are also Catholic, Protestant, Nestorian, and Orthodox Christians. The city is also home to followers of Sunni Islam, followers of the Bahá'í Faith, followers of Judaism and followers of different kinds of Sufism.

Parks and touristic centers[edit]

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[32]


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).[8] 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.[28] Large number of the Assyrians and Armenians were killed in 1914 as result of the Armenian and Assyrian Genocide.[33] This led to a shift in the city's demographics.[28] During the era of Reza Shah Pahlavi, Iranian Assyrians were invited to return to the region and several thousand did return.

Today, scholars note that there are only around 5,000 Assyrians left in the city,[34] therefore meaning only around 1% are Assyrian, down from 50% pre Assyrian Genocide numbers.



  • 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.


Flag of Turkey.svg Consulate of Turkey in Beheshti Ave., Urmia, Iran.


A School in Urmia (1910)

The first modern style school established in urmia in 1834.[35]

Urmia University's hall

Higher education[edit]

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 College Afagh [16]




Urmia has one state television channel West Azerbaijan TV that broadcasts in both Azerbaijani and Persian languages. It broadcasts internationally through satellite Intelsat 902.[36]


Urmia has one radio channel broadcasting in both Azerbaijani, and Persian languages. The name of the local radio is Chichest.[36]



  • Orumiye


  • Sedaye Urmia
  • Amanat
  • Koosha
  • Araz

Beside other minor Press that are being published regularly.


Health systems[edit]

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 international medical center[37]
  • 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:[38]

Other west Azerbaijan international airport is Khoy airport. Domestic air routes to:Tehran, Mashhad, Kish Island, Shiraz, Esfahan.[38]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Variously transliterated as Oroumieh, Oroumiyeh, Orūmīyeh and Urūmiyeh
  2. ^ Urmia can be found at GEOnet Names Server, at this link, by opening the Advanced Search box, entering "-3077456" in the "Unique Feature Id" form, and clicking on "Search Database".
  3. ^ Also Rezaeyeh, Rezā’īyeh, Rezâiyye


  1. ^ http://www.urmia.ir/Default.aspx?tabid=1609
  2. ^ "Census of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1385 (2006)" (Excel). Islamic Republic of Iran. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11. 
  3. ^ a b "Country Study Giude-Azerbaijanis". STRATEGIC INFORMATION AND DEVELOPMENTS-USA. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Iran-Azerbaijanis". Library of Congress Country Studies. December 1987. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Orumiyeh". Looklex Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Orumiye". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  7. ^ "Orumiyeh (Iran)". Encyclopedia Britannica. 
  8. ^ a b http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Urmia.html
  9. ^ a b "Assyrians in the History of Urmia, Iran". 
  10. ^ a b E.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936, M. Th Houtsma, page 1035, 1987
  11. ^ "AZERBAIJAN xii. MONUMENTS". ENCYCLOPÆDIA IRANICA. AMI N.F. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Richard Nelson Frye, The history of ancient Iran, München (1984), 48-49
  13. ^ The Proto-Indoaryans, by T. Burrow, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 2 (1973), pp. 123-140, Published by: Cambridge University Press, see 139
  14. ^ Ishaya, Arianne (2002). "History of Assyrins in Urmia". JAAS XVI (1). 
  15. ^ Sykes, Percy (1921). A History of Persia. London: Macmillan and Company. p. 67. 
  17. ^ Naby, Eden (September 2007). "Theater, Language and Inter-Ethnic Exchange: Assyrian Performance before World War I Eden Naby1". Iranian Studies, 40:4. 4 40: 501–510. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  18. ^ a b Tejirian, Eleanor H.; Simon, Reeva S. (1 September 2012). Conflict, conquest, and conversion. Columbia University Press. pp. 350–351. ISBN 978-0-231-51109-4. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Atabaki, Touraj (4 September 2006). Iran and the First World War: Battleground of the Great Powers. I.B.Tauris. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-86064-964-6. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  20. ^ Gaunt, David; Beṯ-Şawoce, Jan (2006), Massacres, resistance, protectors: Muslim-Christian relations in Eastern Anatolia during World War I, Gorgias Press LLC, pp. 106–107, ISBN 978-1-59333-301-0 
  21. ^ "World Weather Information Service - Orumiyeh". 
  22. ^ "Oroomieh Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  23. ^ 2012 census
  24. ^ URMIYA, Encyclopaedia of Islam(edition 2)
  25. ^ Iran. 
  26. ^ "Urmia". 
  27. ^ http://www..com/EBchecked/topic/433619/Orumiyeh
  28. ^ a b c "ASSYRIANS IN IRAN". 
  29. ^ "Iran - Azarbaijanis". 
  30. ^ دكتر م پناهايان، مجموعه اي در چهار جلد به نام " فرهنگ جغرافياي ملي تركان ايران زمين " سال 1351
  31. ^ سيري در تاريخ زبان ولهجه هاي تركي , دكتر جواد هئيت- چاپ سوم , سال1380,ص 307
  32. ^ http://www.bari.ir/bari/en/tours/jazebeha/kaboodan/
  33. ^ "The Armenian Genocide". 
  34. ^ "Evidence in Stone and Wood: The Assyrian/Syriac History and Heritage of the Urmia Region in Iran". academia.edu. 
  35. ^ "معاون شهرسازی و معماری شهردار ارومیه خبر داد تخصیص بودجه 550 میلیارد تومانی شهرداری ارومیه". 
  36. ^ a b "پایگاه اطلاع رسانی صدا و سیمای مرکز آذربایجان غربی". 
  37. ^ "بیمارستان بین‌المللی 300 تختخوابی ارومیه". 
  38. ^ a b "وب سایت فرودگاه بین المللی ارومیه > صفحه اصلی". Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. 

External links[edit]