As-Salt, one of the ancient cities of Jordan, is merely half an hour’s drive from the Capitol city of Amman, so be sure to plan to spend some time in this place of many wonders.
As-Salt, built on three hills, boasts a history of being ruled by many differing empires. It is not known exactly when As-Salt was built, but is widely believed to have been built by the Macedonian’s during the reign of Alexander the Great. During the Byzantine Empire, As-Salt was the primary human settlement on the East Bank of the Jordan River. The town was destroyed, then rebuilt, and once again gained notoriety during the reign of the Ottoman Empire, when it was the regional capital.
Salt’s heyday was in the 19th century and arrived with the advent of traders from Nablus, who sought to expand their trade routes beyond the Jordan Valley. This era saw the rapid expansion of Salt from a small village, to a more complex, architecturally beautiful city, with elegant buildings made of the local honey colored stone.
After World War II, it seemed that As-Salt would become the capital of the new Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, but a quarrel between the King, and some of the local notables, forces King Abdullah to move the capital to what is now the capital city of Amman.
Among the many reasons to visit As-Salt, besides the rich and complex history of the region, is the architecture. Many influences can be found in the lovely buildings and homes of the area. Architectural influences from the many occupying forces can be found, along with European influences. Most of the homes have domed roofs, courtyards, and very tall windows in the arch shape. Some of the more wealthy homeowners even had their ceilings frescoed by European artists, recalling some of the treasures of European architecture.
The As-Salt region is famed for its fertile soil and high-quality harvests. Grapes, olives, tomatoes, and peaches are grown here in abundance. The area, once called Saltus, is believed to have been the inspiration for the naming of the Sultana raisin.
There are many places of note to visit while touring the region: Roman tombs on the outskirts of town, the Citadel of Ayyubid Fortress, which Saladin’s nephew built after 1198 A.D., and the many places that peddle handicrafts of beads and other local products.
As-Salt: rich in history, in beauty, and in religious and cultural ties that bind us all together. Be sure to spend some time here!