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 Introduction

 

West Azarbayjan province is located in North west of the country bordering with Turkey to the west, Iraq to the south west and Nakhchivan to the north, and the provinces of East Azarbayjan to the east, Zanjan to the south east and Kurdistan to the south.
The province of West Azarbayjan covers an area of 39,570 km² (excluding the Urmia), or 43,660 km² including the Lake. The population of the province estimated as 3,100. The capital city of the province is Urmia.
The province is divided into 17 (counties) including Piranshahr, Urmia, Mahabad, Oshnaviyeh, Miandoab,Naghadeh, Takab, Shahindej, Maku, Chaldoran County, Salmas, Khoy, Sardasht and Bukan.
West Azarbayjan central coordination locates in 37.5528°N 45.0759°E.
The present number of counties was achieved over time by subdivision of many of the larger into smaller ones. There are no official statistics or census figures on the ethnic makeup of Iran. The bulk of the population in West Azarbayjan Province is Azarbayjanis and Kurds. There are also immigrants from other parts of Iran in the major cities of the province.
Urmia or Oroumieh, during the majority of the Pahlavi Dynasty [1925–1979] called Rezaiyeh, is a city in Northwestern Iran and the capital of West Azarbayjan Province. The city lies on 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 with a population of about 600,000. The population is mainly Azeri, with Kurdish, Assyrian, and Armenian minorities.
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) are grown.
The name Urmia is thought to have come from Sumerian tongue, the earliest known civilization in the world located in southern Mesopotamia. Ur was a principal Sumerian city. Some believe the name is derived from Syriac. Ur, meaning "cradle," and mia, meaning "water." Hence, Urmia, situated by a lake and surrounded by rivers, would be the cradle of water. Some have claimed connections to other languages. There is, however, no generally accepted etymology.
According to study of households and ethnic composition in the city of Urmia, which took place around the year 2000 shows that 75.7% of the city are speakers of Azeri and the rest are speakers of Kurdish and other groups. Major cities of the province include:

  • Oshnaviyeh is a county in northwestern Iran with a population of around 30,000 west of Lake Urmia about 1,300 meters above sea level. The capital of the county is Oshnavieh. It lies in the West Azarbaijan province on border to the Kurdish provinces in Turkey and Iraq. The county is captured by huge mountains who keep the mild weather even under the summers. Ushnavieh is located in an agricultural area and has water flows from mountains entire the year. The most agricultural products are wheat, beetroots and main tree fruits like apple and grape. Oshnovieh is a historic city and there are many historic sites from the Hurrian and Urartian periods onward.
  • Bukan is a town south of Lake Urmia about 1,300 meters above sea level. It lies in the West Azarbaijan Province of Iran with estimated population of 50,000 and due county of 110,000.
    The town is situated on the eastern bank of the Siminarud, on the road between Saqqez and Miandoab at about 56 km southeast of Mahabad. The rural population is engaged in farming (wheat, barley and other cereals, sugar beets, and some summer crops), gardening, and animal husbandry.
    Formerly the village housed a community of about 70 families (Razmara, loc. cit.) residents of Bukan were actively involved in the short-lived Kurdish Republic of 1946, which had its capital at Mahabad (Eagleton). The town acquired a printing press, and books and magazines were published in Kurdish there. Six years later the region was the center of a peasant revolt that spread to all the Kurdish provinces of Iran (Mokhammedov). The army interfered, and the revolt was ruthlessly put down. The people of Bukan participated in the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 and in the subsequent movement for Kurdish autonomy.
    In 2007, a group of French Scientists discovered that the water sources in the surrounding areas of Bukan are amongst the worlds cleanest.
  • Chaldoran is a county in the north of West Azarbaijan province with administrative center of Seyah Cheshmah with a population of 15,000. The population of Chaldoran is Azeri and Kurmancî Kurds. Formerly, the county had a large Christian population, many of whom were Armenian.
    Chaldoran is one of the touristic areas of West Azarbaijan province of Iran because of its cold weather in winter and cool in summer. The name of Chaldoran comes from the local Iranian words Char deran which literally mean four temples.
  • Maku is a town in the northwestern part of the West Azarbaijan province of Iran. It is situated 22 km from the Turkish border in a mountain gorge at an altitude of 1634 meters. The Zangmar River cuts through the city. The population of Maku speak dominantly Azeri and Kurdish
  • Mahabad is a county in West Azarbaijan Province in Iran. The capital of the county is Mahabad. The language of the inhabitants is Soorani Kurdwith the Mokriani dialect. Because of its strategic position and its proximity with the border the city is a stop for many travelers. The population is estimated 200,000 including.

Naghadeh formerly known as Sulduz is a city in northwestern Iran with 80,000 inhabitants, 23 km southeast of Lake Urmia about 1,300 meters above sea level.

1.2. Geography and Climate

The climate of the province is largely influenced by the rainy winds of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean. Cold northern winds affect the province during winter and cause heavy snow. According to existing meteorological data, local temperatures vary within the province. Average temperature differs from 9.4 °C in Piranshahr to 11.6 °C in Mahabad, while it is 9.8 °C in Urmia, 10.8 °C in Khoy, 9.4 °C in Piranshahr, and in Mahabad 11.6 °C. According to same data, the highest temperature in the province reaches 34 °C in July, and the lowest temperature is –16 °C in January. Maximum change of temperature in summer is 4 °C, and in winter 15 °C. West- Azarbayjan province, encompassing vast and fertile plains, high mountains, enjoying moderate and healthy weather, rivers with high volume of water, vineyards, orchards, luxuriant forest and rangelands, mountain outskirt with wonderful flora, magnificent wildlife and beautiful shores around the lake with different recreational facilities, which all together form one of the most beautiful and spectacular region in Iran. A land with wonderful flora during the spring and the summer covered with tulip, poppy, narcissus and hyacinth extending from Arass rivers banks in the north to Zab Kouchak valley in the south.
Urmia's climate is semi-arid (Koppen BSk) with moderately cold winters, mild springs, hot, dry summers (though mild for Iran) and crisp autumns. Precipitation is heavily concentrated in late autumn, winter, and especially spring, while summer precipitation is very scarce.

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