URMIA (the name as written by the Persians is Urumieh and Urmieh; the inhabitants of the place say Urmi), a town in the province of Azerbaijan in Persia, situated at an elevation of 4400 ft., in an extremely fertile and highly cultivated plain, 78 m. S.W. of Tabriz (120 by road), n to 12 m. from the western shore of the lake of the same name, in 37 34' N. and 45 4' E. It is surrounded by a wall and deep dry ditch that can be flooded, and is encircled by orchards and gardens which extend all round for miles and even penetrate the heart of the town. The streets are broader than is usual in Persian cities, and most of them have a stream of water running down the middle. There are a busy bazaar and some old mosques. The population is about 3S,oo, and there are post and telegraph offices. The only building of importance is the ark, or citadel, a walled building in the centre of the town containing an arsenal and barracks for a small garrison. Urmia has for many years been the headquarters of various missions to the Nestorians of the neighbourhood: an American mission (since 1833) representing the " Board of the Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian church of the United States of America "; the French Lazarists (since 1840); British, "The Anglican Mission" founded by Archbishop Benson (1884), and a Russian mission (Orthodox, since 1902). Urmia is the capital of a fertile district 5 n. long and about 20 m. broad, having the same name and containing more than 300 flourishing villages. It exports great quantities of dried fruit and excellent tutun, tobacco for chibuks, or Turkish pipes.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)