Sharafkhaneh is a port city by Lake Urmia (Orumieh), a salt lake located in northwestern Iran. The Lake has a surface area of approximately 5,200 square kilometers and it has over 100 small rocky islands. Lake Urmia is home to some 212 species of birds, 41 reptiles, 7 amphibians, and 27 species of mammals, including the Iranian yellow deer.
The construction of a dam on part of the lake and the recent drought has significantly decreased the annual amount of water Orumieh receives. This in turn has increased the salinity of Orumiyeh's water, causing the lake to lose its significance as home to thousands of migratory birds, such as flamingoes.
The lake is a major barrier between two of the most important cities in West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan provinces, Urmia and Tabriz. Experts have warned that the construction of a bridge across the lake, together with a series of ecological factors, will eventually lead to the drying up of the lake, turning it into a salt marsh which will directly affect the climate of the region. Lake Urmia has been shrinking for a long time, with an annual evaporation rate of 0.6m to 1m (24 to 39 inches). Although measures are now being taken to reverse the trend the lake has shrunken by 60 percent and could disappear entirely. The lake's salts are considered to have medical effects, especially as a cure for rheumatism. Lake Urmia is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Ramsar site.
Sharafkhaneh Port, Lake Urmia (Orumieh)
... Payvand News - 07/08/11 ... --