Mahabad lies to the south of the province and Lake Orumieh. The center of which lies 873 km. from Tehran. In its mountainous terrain it experiences cold weather, whereas in the plains it is warmer. Mahabad was formerly known as Savojbolaq Mokri (Savojbolaagh-e Mokri).
In the year 1038 AH., during the end of the reign of Shah Abbas I, Bedaqal Soltan chief of the Mokri tribe, shifted the center of his rule to Mahabad, and interesting relics of the time have survived in this city.
The city was founded in the Safavid period about 300 years ago, and its first name was Sablagh. Sablagh is a Turkic word meaning cold spring. Later, in the Qajarid period, the town was called Sablaghi Mukri, meaning Sablagh of the Mookri tribe, due to the residence of the Mookri tribe in the city. This was the name of the town until 1936, when the town was named Mahabad.
Mukri Kurds participated in several wars between Safavid dynasty and Ottoman Empire, and gained more predominance. In 17th century AD, Mehabad became the seat of Mukri principality (known as Mukriyan in Kurdish and Mokriyan in Persian). Many believe Budaq Sultan Mukri, who built Mehabad's Jameh Mosque is the founder of the current town.