Visiting Urmia (Part I)

Urmia, Central city of West Azerbaijan

Urmia is one of the most important cities in northwestern Iran. This city is located on the slopes of Mount Sari and Urmia Plain, and due to its temperate climate, especially in summer, is a populare tourist destination for those vesting Iran. Through this article (which is going to be presented in several parts) Alale will introduce to you some sights of Urmia, the central city of West Azerbaijan.


Urmia was formerly known as "Rezaieh". Even today, the Azerbaijani Turks usually call this city Rezaieh. The city is also called Iranian Paris, Iran, the city of water, Dar-alneshat and the city of religions and tribes. If you take a trip to the city in the summer, you will be confronted with trees full of fruits that are very tasteful and natural, and most often without the use of chemical fertilizers. The city's warm and friendly locals make your trip to be filled with memorable memories. If you like to have a trip to Urmia in summer, follow the article to give you more details about this city:

Urmia Lake


Lake Urmia in the northwest of Iran, once was the largest water catchment area of the world and the second largest lake after the Dead Sea in the Middle East. The size of the lake reaches 140 kilometers from north to south and 85 kilometers from east to west, which collectively covers an area of over 5200 square kilometers. In the past, launch riding in this beautiful lake was one of the main attractions of for Azerbaijani people; so that, On Fridays you’d see a long waiting line for getting ride on the lake.


Unfortunately, today the lake has lost its glory and is gradually drying out. The main cause of this is the diversion and the change in the direction of the lake’s river. Other causes, such as reduction of rainfall amount, increase in air temperatures, and extracting water in other places are also account for the issue.

Marmisho Lake


Marimisho Lake is located 45 kilometers northwest of Urmia, along the border between Iran and Turkey. An earthquake and blocking rivers in the border by mountain have led to the formation of this lake, and whereby a variety of aquatic animals, such as trout, have grown into the lake, making it a suitable place for fishing. The lake has an area of 5 hectares.

Unfortunately, in recent years, due to flooding and filling the lake with sand, the overall area and depth of the Marimisho Lake have been decreased. The name of this lake is taken from the name of the leader of the Assyrian Christians, is Marshimon Benjamin. 

City Hall


Urmia Municipality building is located on Imam Street, east of an old square called Eialat. The construction of the building dates back to the Pahlavi era; in 1931, the building was constructed by Mullah Ousta, who was the dominant architect of the time. The overall plan of this building, like the Tabriz City Hall, is in the form of an eagle that has opened its wings.

The building is built in two floors and in its architecture the principle of symmetry is strictly observed. On September 30, 1941, in the time of Allied invasion of Iran, the Russian military bombed the garrison that destroyed the southern side of the city; after that by two people, Avesta Mahbour and an Armenian master, the city hall was renovated.

Se-Gonbad Tower


The three-dome tower in the southeast of Urmia, located on the street of Ostad Barzegar, built in the year 580 AH, during the Seljuk era. Some people claim that the building was made as a fire temple during the Sassanid era, but there is no valid document to prove that. Inside this building, there are 3 inscriptions written in Kofi line, which have been carved out of stone. At the end of the inscription, the date of Muharram 580 AH is carved. According to the inscription, the building is constructed under the commands of one of the Seljuk rulers, "Sheith Ghateh al-Mozafari". Architecturally speaking, the tower is similar to the Maragheh monuments and other tombstones built in the 6th century AH during the reign of Seljuk kings.

The tower has three cylindrical domes with a diameter of 5 meters and a height of 13 meters. It has 2 floors and there is a hatch on each side. The first floor is called a crypt which has an arched ceiling, by which it is separated from the second floor. In This building was registered in December 1935 in the list of national works of Iran.

Shamalkan Falls


Shamalak Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in a village with the same name, near Urmia. To go to the village of Shemalakan, one should pass the road and resort of Band. This waterfall has created a very beautiful nature in this village that, definitely, is worth seeing.

Urmia Central Mosque


The CentraL (Jame) Mosque is one of Urmia's historical monuments located on Eqbal Avenue. This mosque is located in the Old Baazar of the city and is one of the main pillars of the city's old texture. Some believe that the building was initially a fire temple and after the domination of the Muslims, it was destroyed, then in the 7th century AH, a mosque was constructed based on the temple’s style. Adornments, pillars and arches of the mosque resemble the style of the Seljuk architecture.

Nane Maryam Church


The Maryam Church (the other names of this church is Mary, Mart Maryam and East of Assyria) is one of the oldest churches in Iran and the world, which according to some narratives is the second largest church in the world, after the Church of Bethlehem in Palestine. This church was built in 32 AD and was the site of burial over the past centuries. It is said that the building was previously a fire temple and one of the famous Zoroastrian temples. At the time of the birth of Christ, the Zoroastrian priests living in the temple saw a shining star moving toward the east. They marked it as a sign of the birth of the Savior, and embarked upon a trip to Jerusalem. After returning to Urmia, they convert the fire temple to a church and promote the religion of Christ. The present visage of this church belongs to the Sassanid era.

If you visit the Maryam Church, you will see that the interior design of the church is not similar to what you have imagined in your mind; it differs greatly from the other churches. The Church is carpeted with rugs, its roof is short, and there are labyrinthine and altar in the corner of it. There is also a painting of Jesus Christ, in front of which a priest stands and performs the ceremonies.

There are a lot more into visiting Urmia, stay with Alale to learn more in the second part of this article about this beautiful city.



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