Exploring As-Salt

As-Salt, is an ancient town, situated about half an hour above the Peace Wadi, in the Balqa hills. It is the closest metropolitan centre to the farm and is served by frequent buses which charge just half a dinar each way.

The journey to As-Salt is easy and beautiful. I boarded the bus from Shuneh which is a five minute drive from the farm (or a half hour walk). Women were seated at the front of the bus, with men at the back. As we wound our way up the hillside with a lush green valley beneath us, I saw olive groves and cedar trees and smelt the sweet citrus of lemon trees lining the road. The hills were craggy, with houses perched on their sides, and as we climbed higher, the hills grew greener reminding me of the Scottish highlands.

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As-Salt means “thick forest”. The town sits in between three hills; a location which allowed its inhabitants to benefit from fresh water resources available on higher land. It is home to the first secondary school in the country where nine of Jordan’s Presidents have been educated, as well as many mosques and churches. As I learnt during my tour of the Historic Old Salt Museum, the town prides itself on the good relations between those of different faiths, with one monument, the Al Khader Orthodoc Church, welcoming Muslims and Christians alike for prayer.

After my tour of the Old Salt Museum, I went in search of some food. A stroll through the market led me to a kind man who handed me a delicious, fresh pancake-like bread and told me the name of a local restaurant where I could sit for lunch. I greeted many people as I walked through the market and repeated the restaurant’s name until I reached Abu Hamiz’s restaurant, where I was given more food than I could possibly have managed in one sitting.

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I packed some of the (mountains of) surplus baba ganoush into the last flat bread for later, and wandered through the streets before climbing up the Jabal Al-Qala hill, to the highest mosque I could see. As I reached the mosque, the Asr (afternoon) call to prayer began, and I took a seat to look out over the town and the valley below it. I caught my bus home from the bus station just below the junction I’d been dropped off at.
I’d recommend a trip to As-Salt to anyone staying at the Peace Wadi – the journey is gorgeous and there are plenty of religious and civic sights to check out among the hustle and bustle of Saltis going about their daily life.
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