Urmia (Officially: Orūmīyeh), is the capital city of West Azerbaijan Province in northwestern Iran, Eastern Kurdistan. It is a fairly large city with a 2013 population of about 667,000.[i] There is quite a bit of diversity amongst the residents, consisting of Azeris Turkish, Assyrian Christian, Armenian, and Kurdish ethnicities. The ancient kingdom of Urartu once had settlement in Urmia.[ii] The city is now a popular agricultural trading center.
[i] City Population - West Azerbaijan. City Population. Retrieved on 2014-04-03.
[ii] Orūmīyeh. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved on 2014-04-03.
There are many restaurants offering local Persian dishes. Tea rooms are also popular and some offer qalyan, a special water pipe. In addition, there are a few Western-style establishments for those seeking a different taste.
Lake Urmia - The largest lake in the Middle East, Lake Urmia's salty waters attract many birds and animals, although its high salinity does not allow for fish. Most of the area around it is National Park. It is due east of the city.
Natural History Museum - Learn about the native animals in and around Urmia -- mammals, birds, reptiles, and a variety of insects are on display at this museum.
Urmia Museum - This Archaeological museum is located on Behesti Avenue and is associated with the nearby university.
There are several hotels in Urmia offering visitors a variety of accommodations from low to mid-range in price. The Orumiyeh Tourist Hotel offers magnificent vista views of snow-capped mountains while offering nicely styled modern guestrooms.
The name Urmia means "water town".[i] It is located just west of Lake Urmia, but is also near several smaller lakes, rivers, and lagoons including Hasanloo Lake, Marmisho Lake, and Haft Abad Lagoon.
Urmia has a col semi-arid climate with an average July high of 86°F and average January low of 20°F, including some winter snows. There is generally a light breeze present with winds between 6-10 mph.[ii]
[i] Ishaya, Arianne (2002). "History of Assyrins in Urmia". JAAS XVI (1).
[ii] Historical Weather for Urmia, Iran. Weatherbase. Retrieved on 2014-04-01.
Urmia boasts an international airport, allowing travelers from around the world to easily access this interesting city. Once landed, most people travel by car, bus, or taxi. There are not currently any train stations in Urmia.