A Town Of Persia, in the province of Azerbijan, 65 m. S. W. of Tabriz; pop. estimated by the Austrian consul general in 1872 at 50,000 (other estimates varying from 25,000 to 40,000), chiefly Mohammedans, but including several thousand Jews and Nestorians. Embosomed in foliage and orchards, Urumiah is one of the most beautiful towns of Persia, extending over a mile, and having fine open spaces and gardens and several good streets. The jurisdiction of the local authorities extends over 10 districts, with an aggregate population of about 150,000. The Protestant mission here has been transferred from the American board of foreign missions to the Presbyterian board, whose organization in the neighboring village of Seir dates from the end of 1872. It comprises a printing office, which in that year issued 3,230 volumes in the old and new Syriac languages, 3 main and 50 subsidiary stations, 50 native preachers, 95 teachers, 55 schools, a female seminary, and more than 700 church members. In the vicinity of Urumiah are mounds believed to have been used in early periods for the rites of the fire worshippers.
Urumiah, under the name of Thabarma, was by the early Persians held sacred as the birthplace of Zoroaster.
Lake, a body of water in the vicinity of the town, forming an oblong and shallow basin, nowhere exceeding 24 ft. in depth, extending in its longer direction from N. N. W. to S. S. E. over 80 m., with an average width of about 25 m. It is 4,200 ft. (according to Rawlinson) above the sea level. Its waters, heavily impregnated with salt, resemble those of the Dead sea; the color is deep blue, whence the Armenian name of Kapotan Zauw, " Blue sea." On the E. side a peninsula projecting far into the lake divides it into unequal northern and southern portions; the latter and larger contains a group of islands, some of which are large. The lake receives many important streams. Among the most interesting towns near the E. shore is Maragha, which once had an immense population, now reduced to about 20,000, after which the lake is called by the Arabs.