West Azerbaijan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the northwest of the country, bordering Turkey, Iraq and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, and the provinces of East Azerbaijan, Zanjan and Kurdistan.
The province is part of Regions 3. The province of West Azerbaijan covers an area of 39,487 km², or 43,660 km² including Lake Urmia. In 2012 the province had a population of about 3 million (estimate). The capital city and largest city of the province is Urmia.
Permanent settlements were established in the province as early as the 6th millennium BC as excavation at sites such as Teppe Hasanlu establish. In Hasanlu, a famous Golden Vase was found in 1958. The province is the location of Tepe Hajji Firuz, site of some of the world’s earliest evidence of wine production.
Gooy Teppe is another significant site, where a metal plaque dating from 800 BC was found that depicts a scene from the epic of Epic of Gilgamesh.
Ruins such as these and the UNESCO world heritage site at the Sassanid compound of Takht-i-Suleiman illustrate the strategic importance and tumultuous history of the province through the millennia. Overall, the province enjoys a wealth of historical attractions, with 169 sites registered by the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran.
With an area of 43,660 square kilometers, including Lake Urmia, the province of West Azerbaijan is located on the northwest of Iran. 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 meteorological data, local temperatures vary within the province. Average temperature differs from 9.4 °C in Maku to 11.6 °C in Tekab, while it is 9.8 °C in Urmia, 10.8 °C in Khoy, 9.4 °C in Maku 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. Average annual precipitation ranges from 870 millimetres (34 in) of rainfall equivalent in exposed southern areas down to around 300 millimetres (12 in) in Maku in the north, of which a substantial proportion is snow.
Most of the population in West Azerbaijan Province are Azeris and Kurds. There are three other ethnic and religious groups who are native to the province and have minority status: Armenians, Assyrians, and Jews. Assyrians once took up near half of the population, but due to the Turks invading the area with hopes to chase down Assyrians who fled here to escape the Assyrian Genocide in the early 1900s, near all were massacred or displaced, and now there are now only 15,000 left. There are also immigrants from other parts of Iran in the major cities of the province.
The majority population of West Azarbaijan are Azeris with 76.2 percent of the population and Kurds with 21.7% percent respectively Azeris live mostly in Chaldoran, Maku, Khoy, Salmas, Urmia, Naghadeh, Miandoab, Shahindej and Takab counties and Kurds inhabit mostly Oshnaviyeh, Sardasht, Mahabad, Piranshahr and Bukan counties.
The city of Urmia has a higher standard of living in comparison with the other cities of the province. There are plenty of parks, coffee shops, cinemas, and internet cafes throughout. There are hundreds of small villages in the province, most of which have running water and electricity as well as television, satellite, and telephone lines. West Azerbaijan Province is one of the most important provinces for Iran’s agriculture.
Geocoding for West Azarbaijan, Iran: 37.5528°N 45.0759°E
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