The province of West Azarbayjan is located to the northwest of Iran covering an area of 43,660 sq. km. The following form the townships of the said province: Orumieh, Oshnavieh, Bukan, Piran Shahr, Takab, Chaldran, Khoy, Sardasht, Salmas, Shahindej, Maku, Mahabad, Miandoab and Naqadeh. In the year 2006 , this province had a population of about 2.8 million of which approximately 60% resided in urban areas, 40% is rural areas and the rest accounted for being non-residents. The capital city of the province is the city of Orumieh with a population of approximately 435,000.
This province has a mountainous terrain in which the relief varies. Having common borders with the countries of Turkey and Iraq. The high Zagross Mountains span over an area from the north west to the south east. The water obtained of melting snow, from these majestic mountains flow through the various valleys in the vicinity; ultimately, flowing into the three main sectors such as the Lake Orumieh, the great fault of Khoy and the Khoy valley and the valley of the Kloy (Zaab) River. These are the most low-lying areas of the province.
Climatically the province is influenced by humid air currents of the Atlantic Ocean and in the winter months the Mediterranean air currents have an effect here, bringing down the temperature. Generally the climate is variable such as being approximately 34º C in hot summer months and dropping to -16º C in the winter season, such that the cities of Orumieh and Maku have dry summers and cold winters, Mahabad has dry, long summers and extremely cold winters, whereas Naqadeh and Miandoab experience semi-humid climate with mild summers and cold winters.
History and Culture
The province of West Azarbayjan engulfs one of the ancient civilizations in the country. Various ancient and historical monuments together with the lifestyle and culture of a number of tribes or clans inhabiting the territory bring about this environment. Mosques, churches, fire-temples and historical upheavals throughout the passage of time have intermingled in creating a strong basis.
Besides it is worth mentioning that from the religious aspect, the 'Shiite-sect' mostly are the inhabitants of Orumieh and the northern cities, whereas the Sunnite sect are prevalent in the southern areas of the province. Other minorities such as the Assyrians and Armenians abide by their churches and each one of these, including the Azari and Kurds have their own traditions and culture.