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Urmia (ûrˈmēə) [key], formerly Rezaiyeh, city (1991 pop. 357,399), capital of West Azerbaijan prov., NW Iran, near Lake Urmia. It is the trade center for a fertile agricultural region where fruit and tobacco are grown. A causeway and bridge across the lake connects Urmia with Tabriz. An important town by the 9th cent., Urmia was seized by the Oghuz Turks (11th cent.), sacked by the Seljuk Turks (1184), and later occupied a number of times by the Ottoman Turks. Urmia was the seat of the first U.S. Christian mission in Iran (1835). Around 1900 Christians made up more than 40% of the city's population; however, most of the Christians fled in 1918.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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