For travellers who like to get off-the-beaten track and away from the traditional tourist trail, a visit to the charmingly characterful city of As-Salt is well worth the detour.
Once the administrative centre of the area, As-Salt was also a very important trading link between the Eastern Desert and the west. Its newfound status meant that vast investment was poured into the city from the region’s many rulers including the Romans, Byzantines and Mameluks. Wealthy merchants built opulent mansions in the traditional Ottoman style which – thanks to As-Salt largely avoided the modernisation and concrete urbanisation that befell Amman – still remain intact today, adding to As-Salt unique appeal.
In fact this quaint little hillside city is something of a time capsule of architectural heritage, and a walk around the narrow winding streets of the old town will reward visitors with a plethora of traditional yellow sandstone mansions, many of which can be spotted thanks to their characteristic domed roofs, interior courtyards and tall, arched windows.
Amongst the most beautiful of these old buildings is the 19th century Abu Jaber mansion with its frescoed ceilings. Also of interest to the adventurous tourists that make it to As-Salt are the Citadel, Roman tombs, a 13th century Ayyubid fortress and the Archaeological & Folklore Museum.