Orumieh or Urmia is the capital of West Azerbaijan Province, in the northwest of Iran. It is located on a fertile plain where they grow different types of crops such as fruits, grains, tobacco and grapes. The elevation of the city is about 1354 meters above the sea level. According to the last official census in Iran, the population of Orumieh is about 750,000. The population mainly includes Azeri Turkish with Kurdish, Armenian and Assyrian Christian minorities.
Archeological excavation in the area was led to discovering objects dating back to 2000 BC. During 9th and 8th century BC this region was a part of the Urartu Kingdom. The name of this city may refer to one of the ancient nations named Urartians whose country Urartu was located between Armenia, Eastern Turkey and north west of Iran. During Safavid period (1502- 1736) and during Ottoman - Persian wars the city was attacked for several times and was occupied by the Ottomans, but it was taken back by the army of king Abbas I in 1622. During the Pahlavi dynasty the city was called Rezaeieh, which was referred to the name of the King Reza the founder of the Pahlavi Dynasty.
The climate in Orumieh is temperate and Mediterranean. The warmest month is July with an average temperature of 24 °C, while January is the coldest month with -1 °C average temperature. During April, which is the wettest month in Orumieh, the precipitation is about 73mm while it rains about 3mm during August.
Being protected as a national park, Orumieh lake is the largest lake in the Middle East, and covers an area that varies from 5200 to 6000 square kilometers. This lake is remarkable for its saltiness (twice saltier than the oceans) and having 102 large and small islands.
St. Thaddeus Armenian Monastery
This ancient monastery is a part of the Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran which is a chain UNESCO world heritage. St. Thaddeus is believed to be one of the oldest churches in Iran and dates back to 7th century and it illustrates an outstanding value of Armenian architectural and decorative traditions.
The archaeological site of Takht-e Soleyman is another UNESCO world Heritage site in West Azerbaijan Province. The site includes the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary dating back to the Sassanid period (3rd to 7th century), a temple which is dedicated to Anahita (the goddess of water), an artesian lake and a volcano. Some parts of this mysterious complex were reconstructed during Ilkhanid Period (13th century).