This old historic town, about 30 minutes from Amman, was the administrative capital of Jordan during the time of the Ottomans. Salt thrived because of its trade networks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but when Amman was chosen as the new capital of Jordan, Salt began to decline.
The town was known as Saltus in Byzantine times and was the seat of a bishopric. It was later destroyed by the Mongols and then was rebuilt by the Mamlūk sultan Baybars I (reigned 1260–77). In the early 1830s Al-Salṭ was again destroyed, by the Egyptian viceroy Ibrāhīm Pasha during his campaigns against Palestine. After World War I it was at Al-Salṭ that Sir Herbert Samuel, British high commissioner for Palestine and Transjordan, announced to the Transjordanian sheikhs and notables that the British favoured self-government for the country (August 1920).
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee voted on Tuesday to inscribe the city of As-Salt located in the northwest of Jordan on the World Heritage Site List, state-run Petra news agency reported. As-Salt, “the Place of Tolerance and Urban hospitality,” became the sixth Jordanian landmark to be declared a World Heritage Site.
Things to do in As-Salt
Salt is not a typical city with many top attractions, and the sightseeing won’t take you that long, but still, there are a few things which will keep you occupied for a while.
Salt has a rich history. It was once a prosperous city set amidst three hills, between Jordan Valley and the Eastern Desert. During the centuries the city saw Romans, Byzantines, Mamelukes and the Ottoman rule, and every period left traces here. Nowadays, the majority of the buildings you can see in the city were rebuilt during Ottoman rule.
Tightly built on a cluster of three hills, As-Salt has several other places of interest, including Roman tombs on the outskirts of town, and the Citadel and site of the town’s early 13th century Ayyubid fortress, which was built by al- Ma’azzam Isa, the nephew of Saladin, soon after 1198 AD. There is also a small museum and a handicraft school where you can admire the traditional skills of ceramics, weaving, silk-screen printing and dyeing.
As-Salt’s Archaeological & Folklore Museum displays artifacts dating back to the Chalcolithic period and up to the Islamic era, as well as other items relating to the history of the area. In the folklore museum, there is a good presentation of Bedouin and traditional costumes and everyday folkloric items.