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West Azerbaijan
West Azerbaijan is a mountainous area which lies in the northwest of Iran. This province, excluding the lake Urumieh, covers an area of 37,463 km2. It is surrounded by the province of Kurdistan on the south, the Republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia on the north, Turkey and Iraq on the west, East Azerbaijan on the east and Zanjan on the southeast. The capital of this province is Urumieh. Its major cities are: Bukan, Khoy, Maku, Mahabad, Miyandoab, Piranshahr, Shahin Dej, Salmas, Sardasht, Naghade and Takab.
According to the latest census carried out in 1996, its population was then 2,496,320. Kurdish and Turkish (Azari) are the languages of its people. This province is an ideal region for agriculture, and also offers good potentials for animal husbandry and fishery.
The climate of West Azerbaijan is Mediterranean, but it is quite cold at higher altitudes and vast areas are covered with snow in winter. In general, this province has warm summers and cold winters.
The average temperature in the capital is 13.7°C in spring, 22.3°C in summer, 8.7°C in autumn and -0.5 in winter. The average temperature in Urumieh over the past 30 years has been 10.9°C; average relative humidity at 6:30 hours, is 60% and at 12:30 hours, 38%; average annual rainfall, 342.5 mm; maximum amount of rainfall on a single day, 80 mm; average number of days with temperature below 0°C, 93.7; average number of hours of sunshine over the year, 2938.3; and the maximum wind speed 29 meters per second, blowing in the direction of 270°.
Urumieh City
Urumieh, the capital of West Azerbaijan is 1,280 m above sea level and at a distance of 946 km from Tehran, on the west of lake Urumieh. Many people consider Urumieh as an important Iranian city. There are temples in Urumieh belonging to the followers of different religions including Zoroastrians, Christians and Moslems.
Urumieh has often been the scene of historic events, from immigration of the Medes to the region, to the invasion by Alexander; from Arab domination over Iran and naturally Azerbaijan, to the reign of the Seljuqs; from the attack of the Mongol hordes, to the occupation of Azerbaijan by the Ottoman Empire, and Russia.
The people of this region have extensive oral culture in the form of folk poetry known as "Bayati", in memory of their experiences of good and bad times.
Carpet weaving, kilim weaving, "jajim" weaving, pottery, mat making, shawl weaving, basketwork, and woodwork are amongst the major industries of this province