Urmia is the capital of West Azerbaijan province, in the Azerbaijan region of Iran. It’s located near the Turkish and Iraqi borders. 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. Excavations of the ancient ruins near Urmia led to the discovery of utensils that date to the 20th century BC. Urmia was an important town by the 9th century, the city has had a diverse population which has at times included Muslims (Shias and Sunnis), Christians (Catholics, Protestants, Nestorians, and Orthodox), Jews, and Sufis. In fact, The Christian history of Urmia is well preserved, and is especially evident in the city’s many churches and cathedrals. Urmia’s climate is cold semi-arid with cold winters, mild springs, hot dry summers, and warm autumns. Urmia’s twin town or sister city is “Erzurum” in Turkey since 2015.
Urmia has many parks and touristic coastal villages just like all the other historical attractions. 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 “Garden of the Peoples”) along the Shahar Chayi, or the City River.
The Urmia lake, the second saltiest lake in the world is only a few kilometers away.
Church of Naneh Maryam (Mother Mary): The first church in the East built by the magi who made the journey to Jerusalem to see Jesus Christ.
Three Domes Tower: The Three Domes Tower is situated in an alley branched off the Ostad Barzegar Street in the southeastern part of Urmia
Friday (Grand) Mosque: Urmia’s Friday Mosque is located in the middle of Urmia Bazaar. It has a vast courtyard and a large brick Shabestan (covered area), roofed in the middle part with a high dome.
Old Urmia Bazaar: The Urmia Bazaar is situated in the southeastern corner of Urmia. At present, the major part of the bazaar which still stands intact is flanked by the Imam (Asgarabadi), Eghbal and Mahabad (Montazeri) streets.
Marserkis Church: The Marserkis Church is one of the stone structures of the province. The roof and all walls are skillfully and solidly built with stones of irregular shapes.
Sardar Mosque: Built in the Qajar dynasty by Abd-o-Samad Khan, father of Agha Khan and great grandfather of Azim-o-Saltaneh Sardar, Sardar Mosque is situated some 500m away from the Friday Mosque. In 1951, the latter installed a big clock on top of the entrance door, which is why it is also called the Sa’atlu (clock) Mosque.
Nine Steps (Doquz Pelleh) Ice House:The Doquz Pelleh Ice House is situated by a little spring called “Darreh Chay” in an old district of Urmia called “Asgar Khan”. Doquz means “9” in Turkish. The ice house was regularly harvested by the people of Urmia before the city expanded to its present shape. Also, the Chaharshanbe Suri ceremonies used to be held beside the little pool some 40 meters away from the spot where the spring water flows into the ice house.
Museum in Urmia:
- 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 Anthropology
There are some other natural beauties plus landscape attractions. It would be a loss if we don’t mention some of them here;
Lagoons & Lakes
- Haft Abad
- Soole Dokel
- Marmisho Lake
- Dalamper Mount & Lake
- Qasimlu Valley
- Kashtiban Village
- Silvana Region
- Kaboodan Island