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'Handbook of Mesopotamia. Vol. IV. 1917' [‎227v] (459/530)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (263 folios). It was created in 1917. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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URMIA (Urumiyeh,). In Persia (Azarbaijan), 12 m. W. of the
middle part of the W. shore of Lake Urmia. Alt. 4,400 ft. Pop.
estimated (before the war) at 30,000-40,000. P., T.O. (terminus of
a line from Tabriz via Khoi and Dilman). Wireless station.
(i) To Chianeh, Ushnu, &c. (S.). (See 60 a, c, 61 c.)
(ii) To Dizeli, &c. (W.), (See Routes 61 a, b.)
(iii) To Dilman, &c. (X.). (See tRou 66 a, b.)
General Description. —The town of Urmia is situated in the plain
bordering the Lake of the same name on the W. This is a very
fertile district, and the town is encircled by orchards and contains
many gardens. A wall with seven gates, and a dry ditch which can
be flooded, surround the town. The streets are unusually broad,
and commonly have a stream of water in the centre. The town
contains a citadel with arsenal and small barracks, some old
mosques, and a busy bazaar.
Lake Urmia is a sheet of water 80-90 m. long from N. to S., and
30-45 m. broad from E. to W., the dimensions varying greatly as , ■"
between the seasons of h.w.—in spring when the snows are melting
—and l.w. The shores are low and shelving, and the whole lake is
very shallow, probably not exceeding 50 ft. in greatest depth. There
are a large number of small islands. The water is excessively saline.
Navigation is carried on by a few boats with round bows and flat
sterns, of about 20 tons burden, carrying a very large square sail.
Before the war insufficient use had been made of the possibilities of
water-borne trade, though in 1912 a Eussian company obtained
a concession for navigation. ' life,
Supplies and Commerce. —The district is extraordinarily fertile;
fruit, vines, rice, tobacco, cotton, melons, and many other products
are raised, but the people before the war were much oppressed by
extortionate officials. The mountains to the W. are said to contain
zinc, lead, and silver, and also petroleum springs which are kept
burning by the natives to prevent the pollution of the streams.
There was a considerable export of dried fruits, and tobacco highly
esteemed for smoking in chibuJcs (Turkish pipes). _
Inhabitants and History. —The population consisted before the war
mainly of Afshar Turks, with a number of Nestorian, Jewish, and
Armenian families. Urmia has been since 1835 the head-quarters
of various missions to the Nestorian Christians, including American
(Presbyterian), British (Anglican), French (Lazarist), and Kussian
(Orthodox) missions. In 1906-1910 the Turks gradually occupied
Eastern Azarbaijan from Khoi to Suj Bulaq, and as far E. as Lake
Urmia, partly in order to improve their strategical position on their

About this item


This volume is A Handbook of Mesopotamia, Volume IV, Northern Mesopotamia and Central Kurdistan (Admiralty War Staff Intelligence Division, April, 1917), covering Mesopotamia north of the line joining Rowanduz, Mosul, Meskeneh [Maskanah], and Aleppo, up to Van, Bitlis, Diarbekr, and Mar‘ash. The volume was prepared on behalf of the Admiralty and War Office, and appears to be based on official and unofficial publications and maps which are cited in a bibliographical section in the volume.

The volume includes a note on confidentiality, a title page, 'Note', and 'Abbreviations'. There is a page of contents which includes the following sections:

  • Introduction;
  • Itineraries;
  • River Routes (The Tigris, The Euphrates);
  • Land Routes (Central Kurdistan, Routes between Mosul and Diarbekr, Routes between the Plain of Diarbekr and the Moutains to North and West, Routes between the line Diarbekr-Mardīn and the Euphrates, Interior of Norther Jezīreh, West of the Jaghjagha Su, The Euphrates Valley and Country West thereof, Across the Taurus between the Euphrates and Mar‘ash, and Aleppo-Mar‘ash);
  • Railways (Aleppo-Ras el-‘Ain-Tel Ermen);
  • Gazetteer of Towns;
  • Bibliographical Note;
  • Transliteration of Names;
  • Glossary;
  • Index;
  • Plates;
  • 'Sketch Map of Routes'.

The volume contains 15 plates, which illustrate the content of the various chapters, and 1 map entitled 'Mesopotamia: Outline Map Showing Routes'.

Extent and format
1 volume (263 folios)

The volume is arranged by numbered routes. There are pages of contents, an index, and a list of plates. There is one map house in a pocket.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The foliation sequence commences at the inside front cover and terminates at the inside back cover; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio (except for the front cover, where the folio number is located on the verso The back of a paper sheet or leaf. ).

Pagination: The volume also has an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'Handbook of Mesopotamia. Vol. IV. 1917' [‎227v] (459/530), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/15/41/6, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 26 May 2020]

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