West Azerbaijan Province
West Azerbaijan Province with an area of 43,660 sq. km is located in the northwest part of Iran and is among the most ancient provinces of Iran. Urmia is the province's capital city and its subsidiary cities are: Khoy, Maku, Salmas, Sardasht, Mahabad, Miandoab, Naghadeh, Piranshahr, Oshnavieh, Bukan, Takab, Shahin Dej and Siah Cheshmeh (Chaldoran). The majority of the people in this province are followers of Islam and Shiite, but the people of the cities of Mahabad, Sardasht and Piranshahr are inhabited by Sunnis and Kurds. Some Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians also live in Urmia.
Azerbaijan is called in Middle Persian; Atropatgan, in ancient Persian; Azarbadgan and in contemporary Persian; Azerbaijan. The ancient history of Azerbaijan is mixed with the history of Medes. Median tribe after migration to Iran captured the western parts of Iran including Azerbaijan. After Alexander the Macedonian conquered Persia, a commander called Atropat emerged in Azerbaijan and this land became known as Atropatgan. During the Seleucid reign, the area of Atropatgan was the safe haven and backrest of the Iranians against Greeks. Several local governments took power in Azerbaijan. After the occupation of Azerbaijan by Shah Ismail Safavi the First, Azerbaijan became the major center for the Safavid kings to gather military and accordingly during the Safavid, Azerbaijan witnessed the bloody battles between Iran and Ottoman corps, which the Chaldoran War is the most major one. In that war, Seyed Sadreddin the Chancellor of Shah Ismail Safavi was martyred and his tomb is now located four kilometers away from the city of Chaldoran in Sa’del village.
This Province is one of the most spectacular in the country with abundant historical, natural and tourism attractions. In terms of the number of landmarks, perhaps few provinces can be found in Iran competing with the West Azerbaijan Province. The existence of ancient relics such as the throne of Solomon, Hassan Lu hill, Qara Klisa, etc. with very long history are the indication of ancient civilization of this region in Iran.