Lake Urmia is an endorheic salt lake in Iran. The lake is between the provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan in Iran, and west of the southern portion of the Caspian Sea.


Lake Orumiyeh is a salt lake that is compared to the Dead Sea. The concentration of Sodium and Chlorine is about four times higher than the concentration of natural sea water.

But it is one of the largest salt lakes in the world. When we look at the map of Iran, we realize that.

It is also called "Lake Ourmia" named after the capital "Urmia" of the province.


It was the largest lake in the Middle East and the 6th saltwater lake on land with an area of about 5200 km², 140 km length by 55 km wide, and a depth of 16 m.

The lake has narrowed to only 10% of its previous size, due to the dam of the rivers flowing into it and the pumping of groundwater in the area. Yet neighboring farms continue to use it for irrigation and regional authorities for the construction of dams.

It may now dry out completely. In 2014, there was much talk about it in the press, as a future environmental disaster.

It was once a favorite stop for migratory birds, flamingos, pelicans and seagulls.

Due to drought and increased demand for agricultural water in the lake basin, the salinity of the lake has risen to more than 300 g / liter in recent years and large areas of the lake bed have been dried. Salt-laden rocks, which once stood at the bottom of the lake, now sit in the middle of the desert on the dried sand.
The lake is divided into two parts, north and south, separated by a pavement in which an interval of 1.5 km provides little exchange of water. Sodium ions are at a slightly higher concentration in the south than at the north of the lake, which could explain the shallower depth in the south, and a higher net evaporation rate.



What different names!

One of the first mentions of the lake comes from the Assyrian archives of the 9th century BC During the reign of Shalmaneser III (reign 858-824 BC), two names are mentioned in the Lake Urmia region: "Parsuwash" (which means the Persians) and "Matai" (means "Matiani"). "Matais" was the Medes and the name "Parsuwash" corresponds well to the old Persian word "parsa", an Achaemenid ethno-linguistic designation.

The lake was the center of the kingdom of Mannae (Mannea). A colony of Mannae, represented by the archaeological mound of Hasanlu ruins, was on the south side of the lake and was invaded by people who were called Matiani or Matieni, an Iranian people identified in various ways like Scythe, Saka, Sarmatian or Cimmerian. It is not known if the lake took its name from the people of the lake, but the country was called Matiene or Matiane, and gave the lake its Latin name "Lacus Matianus", so it is called in some texts: Lake Matianus "or Lake" Matiene "...

Its ancient Persian name is "Chichast" (means "scintillating", a reference to the brilliant mineral particles suspended in the water of the lake and found along its banks).

In the Middle Ages, it is known as the lake "Kabuda" (Kabodan), from the Persian word which means "azure", or "Gabuyd" in Armenian.

In the early 1930s, it is called "lake" Rezaiyeh " named after the king of Pahlavi dynasty, Reza Shah.

After the Iranian revolution in the late 1970s, the lake was renamed "Urmia".

Locally, it is called in Persian "Daryāche-ye Orūmiye", in Azerbaijani "Urmu gölü", and in Kurdish Wermy. "Its Armenian name is Kaputan ts'ov".

Over the past 500 years, the region around Lake Urmia has welcomed Iranians, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians and Azeris.