Since 2021, the list of World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in Jordan includes one more: As Salt. Fortunately for the most intrepid travelers, it has not yet been discovered by mass tourism, so visiting it can be a most picturesque and enjoyable experience. In this post, we tell you what you need to know: the location of As Salt in Jordan, what unique attractions it offers, etc.
Location of As Salt in Jordan and How to Get There
As Salt is located about 30 km west of Amman, the capital of the country. It is nestled in the Jordan Valley, in an environment dominated by three large hills: Cadital, Gadaa, and Salalem. The border with the West Bank is just over 20 km away in a straight line. Although its name seems to derive from the Greek saltus (forests), the mentioned hills are bare and with little vegetation.
The most common way to get to As Salt from Amman is by road, a journey that should not take more than 40 minutes. There are bus lines that depart from the capital’s station. Some people consider this visit as an excursion from the Dead Sea, since the duration of the trip is just 50 minutes from the resorts of this destination, and about 40 minutes from the Baptism Site of Jesus.
As Salt, an Ottoman Jewel of Jordan
Many references made in Jordan to the Ottoman Empire have to do with its defeat during the Arab Revolution. However, over time and beyond past grievances, the legacy of that great political entity is still visible in some parts of the country. And As Salt is precisely its best example.
This small city of about 100,000 inhabitants emerged and flourished at the end of the 19th century when this territory was a vilayet dependent on Constantinople (former Istanbul). It was born as a commercial city in the heart of the Jordan Valley and well connected with Nablus (today in the West Bank) and Haifa (Israel). Therefore, its architecture is a true reflection of the style of that period: the Ottoman.
Its buildings are mainly made of yellowish sandstone, a color that permeates the entire old town. In its skyline, the typical slender minarets characteristic of the Ottoman civilization are not missing, and a walk through its interior will take you through steep streets, stairs, and charming nooks and crannies, where you can see signs and wooden facades, as in the past. Its houses are improbably clustered together, and its irregular topography allowed for the creation of caves, either for dwellings or other uses, such as places of worship.
What to Visit in As Salt
Given its complex topography and narrow streets, the best way to explore As Salt is on foot. Some of the main places to visit are, in this order:
- Great Ottoman mansions or residences: Rest Met Mismar, Beti Muasher, and Beit Abu Jaber. The latter houses an interesting museum of local folklore
- Hammam Street: perhaps the most charming street, with its classic market where spices and all kinds of items are sold
- Great Mosque: entry only permitted to Muslims
- Saint George’s Orthodox Church: located in a cave As Salt Archaeological Museum Jebel Al Qalaa, the highest point of the city, from where magnificent panoramic views of the city can be enjoyed English Hospital, built during the period of British protectorate in the early 20th century As Salt
- Castle Turkish Martyrs’ Monument, next to the castle, dedicated to the Ottoman soldiers who died in World War I
As you can see, visiting As Salt in Jordan can be an interesting proposal, especially if you are going to spend several days in Amman or at the Dead Sea. If you want to add it to your travel program, do not hesitate to let us know.