Lake Urmia was once one of the biggest saltwater lakes in the world
Lake Urmia, lake in northwestern Iran that is the largest lake in the Middle East. It covers an area that varies from 2,000 to 2,300 square miles (5,200 to 6,000 square km). Like the Dead Sea, it is remarkable for the extreme salinity of its waters. Since 1967 it has enjoyed the status of a wetland protected region, and efforts have been made by the Iranian government to increase its wildlife. The lake lies in the bottom of the large central depression of the Azerbaijan region in northwestern Iran, at an elevation of 4,183 feet (1,275 m) above sea level.